Political influence operations through social media in SEA


Double Panel

Part 1

Session 3
Tue 14:30-16:00 REC A2.06

Part 2

Session 4
Tue 16:30-18:00 REC A2.06



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Over the past decade, there has been a significant surge in online influence operations aimed at manipulating public opinion, posing a substantial and growing threat to democracy. This threat is particularly pronounced in Southeast Asia, where high social media penetration and low newspaper readership create ideal conditions for the flourishing of “buzzers” in Indonesia, “trolls” in the Philippines, or “information operations” in Thailand. In this panel, we delve into the diversity of influence operations across SEA, with a specific focus on the personal trajectories of those involved, their day-to-day practices, the strategies and tactics employed, and the organization and funding of their networks. We explore the causes and consequences of the variation in online influence operations, discussing, among other aspects, the extent of private sector involvement, whether it is a unipolar (state-led) or multipolar (involving various candidates/parties) phenomenon, and the degree of institutionalization within the operating networks.