The Alliance for Securing Democracy has published a report examining how Iranian, Russian, and Chinese state media have used the occasion of political dysfunction in the US in order to launch attacks on US social media companies. The report begins:
January 22, 2021 Since the riot at the U.S. capitol on January 6, there has been a clear element of schadenfreude in Iranian, Russian, and Chinese state media coverage of political and social disunion in the United States. That adversarial state media outlets would use the chaos and ensuing fallout to cast the United States as unreliable and democracy as unattractive was predictable, if not inevitable. But beyond the usual tropes used to denigrate the United States in times of dysfunction, a prominent sub-theme that has emerged in their coverage is an intense focus on social media companies’ response to the attack, in particular the portrayal of Facebook and Twitter’s decision to ban Donald Trump as a slippery slope towards censorship. While it may seem incongruous for media outlets funded by countries that consistently rank among the world’s worst offenders in terms of upholding press and Internet freedoms to launch an anti-censorship crusade, it is not an unusual talking point—especially for RT. Irony aside, efforts by adversarial actors to amplify allegations of social media censorship highlight both the growing prominence of Big Tech as a U.S. wedge issue as well as authoritarian countries’ desire to dampen the appeal of a U.S.-led Internet.
Read the full report here.
Last October, the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) posted on another Alliance for Securing Democracy report on how Russian, Chinese, and Iranian state-backed media covered the U.S. Presidential and Vice Presidential Debates, concluding that they used the debates to paint a picture of the US political system “as deeply dysfunctional if not irredeemable.”
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