In Russia, disinformation is used to discredit Vladimir Putin and his rivals in a variety of manners. One of the main ways of doing this is through the news agencies Russia Today and Sputnik. Russia Today, established in 2005, is a source of vital strategic significance. News stories from Russia Today also spread disinformation to viewers outside the Kremlin.
Russian disinformation campaigns were brought to light during the 2016 American presidential election, becoming a significant example of cyber attacks on sovereign bodies. Immediately before the general election, as many as 13 percent of American voters had not yet decided on the candidate who was going to receive their vote due to significant voter apathy.
Russian operatives also bought advertisements on Facebook. These allegedly reached audiences as large as 10 million users and fake Russian accounts generated content that was shared at least 340 million times. At the same time, Russian hackers affiliated with Russian national intelligence hacked 22 of the Democratic National Committee members and released stolen emails that put Hillary Clinton and the DNC in a negative light.
Based on the significance of these measures, namely the hacking of American servers, many American intelligence sources have reported that President Putin was directly involved in mandating these actions be taken against the United States.
As the election cycle begins again in the U.S. and nations around the world vote on critical issues, it is increasingly important to realize the growing place for disinformation campaigns to undermine enemy states. New waves of disinformation campaigns, particularly those targeting social media, are capable of increasing political infighting within states by spreading false narratives.