The (Limited) Effect of Information Warfare
(University of California San Diego)
Does exposure to online information during politically contentious events alter political beliefs or simply reinforce previously held views? A contemporary assumption is widespread that individuals change their minds when exposed to new information on social media. This paper demonstrates that Russia's engagement in information warfare in Ukraine after the Maidan events of 2014 had only modest effects. Using Twitter to map voluntary reproduction of the pro-Kremlin narrative -- which was broadcast 24 hours a day on every state-controlled television station for months -- we find weak evidence that beliefs changed very much among Russian speakers residing in Ukraine.
Revolution and State Building