Social Media and Information Conflict

Brett van Niekerk, Manoj Maharaj


Social media is an integral part of the Web’s evolution; it has become a nearly ubiquitous technology that can be accessed from traditional desktop computers and many mobile devices. The role of social media in shaping national and global political landscapes came to the fore in the aftermath of the Iranian elections in 2009, and then in the popular uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East in 2011. These and other incidents indicate that social media may play a significant role in future information-based conflict. This article discusses the roles of social media in civil disturbances, strategic security, and military operations to develop a model to describe the potential roles of social media in information warfare. The article also assesses the continuing use and roles of social media in information conflict.

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