Votes In 18 Nations Hacked In 2016.
On 14 November 2017, Freedom House published an exceedingly comprehensive report Freedom On The Net 2017: Manipulating Social Media To Undermine Democracy. 65 countries accounting for 87% of all internet users worldwide were assessed and a total of 30 governments were found to have been involved in some form of manipulation to distort online information, an increase over the 2016 figure. The conduits used included paid commentators, trolls, bots, false news sites, and propaganda outlets, to inflate their popular support and essentially endorse themselves. This distortion includes attempting to influence public opinion outside the borders of the countries in question, in order to manipulate foreign policies and opinions about the country responsible for the disinformation. The report also investigated state censorship of the internet and connectivity within each nation and physical attacks against netizens, human rights activists, online journalists, and online media. Online manipulation and disinformation tactics played an important role in elections in at least 18 countries over the past year, including the United States.
For the third consecutive year, China was the world’s worst abuser of internet freedom, followed by Syria and Ethiopia.
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