Misinformation, political warfare and tech

Speaker at Russian Enrichment Program discusses modern topics

By Sophia Gravatt
On November 1, 2019

Photo by Cora Bishop­petty: Students, faculty and members of the community intently listen to presenter Dr. Kiril Avramov.

A research fellow from the University of Texas on Oct. 22 presented a lecture as part of ASU’s Russian Enrichment Program.

Dr. Kiril Avramov discussed various aspects of Russia’s cur­rent role in global politics in his presentation “Active Measures Re­naissance: Strategies of Contemporary Russian Political Warfare.”

“We cannot deny that we are seeing persistent Russian politi­cal warfare efforts and operations that directly target the US,” Avram­ov said.

Technology increases the spread of misinformation and the rise of alternative sources of information, he said.

“An MIT study from last year has proven that false infor­mation on Twitter travels six times faster than factual information,” Avramov said. “I think that is a very telltale sign of what is going on.”

He said all the biases that people have are being taken ad­vantage of by bots and social engineering. The information is cus­tom-tailored to each person’s feed.

“Sometimes what you’re seeing is very different from what I’m seeing on my feed,” he said. “This is the echo chamber effect. These algorithms, based on the harvest of data of your likes, will tell more of what your political preference is."

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