Stories by Jessica Brandt

Expert Voices

Social media platforms reveal China's disinformation reaching the West

protestors outside at night linking arms together and holding up glowing cell phones
Pro-democract protesters in Hong Kong. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

In the past week, Google, Twitter and Facebook each deactivated networks of accounts found to be waging Beijing-backed global influence campaigns — a sign that China is taking pages out of Russia's propaganda playbook.

Why it matters: These campaigns, which aim to discredit the massive protests underway in Hong Kong, show China not only censoring information domestically but increasingly promoting disinformation abroad.

Expert Voices

Italy's Salvini embroiled in Russian scheme to aid League party

Matteo Salvini speaking
Italian Deputy Minister Matteo Salvini. Photo: Stefano Montesi - Corbis/Getty Images

The implication of Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini in a campaign finance deal involving Russian funds highlights the expanding reach of Russian interference in nationalist, populist political movements across Europe.

Why it matters: Russia's foreign meddling aims to further its goals of weakening liberal democracies in the West and expanding its share of global influence. But the exposure of some of its efforts has come back to haunt the intended beneficiaries.

Expert Voices

How global efforts to limit disinformation could infringe speech

man in a suit pointing at a computer whose monitor is glowing red
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The U.K. announced last Monday a sweeping plan to prevent the spread of harmful online content — part of a global trend of new content regulations targeting material designed to polarize and mislead.

The big picture: The British proposal, which comes on the heels of new measures in Australia and Singapore, would create a regulator empowered to punish social media platforms that fail to quickly remove harmful material, including disinformation. But these approaches — which focus on content rather than problematic behavior — have concerning implications for free expression.