Disinformation, Social Media, and Electoral Integrity
Disinformation, Social Media, and Electoral Integrity

Democratic elections rely on a competitive process, faith in electoral institutions and informed participation. International standards for democratic elections assure the right of citizens to seek and receive accurate information regarding elections and level playing fields for political contests to vie for office. However, the deployment of false, exaggerated or contradictory information in the electoral environment has been a successful tool in undermining these principles around the world. Online disinformation can amplify voter confusion, reduce turnout, galvanize social cleavages, suppress political participation of women and other marginalized populations, and degrade trust in democratic institutions. While anti-democratic disinformation campaigns are not new, modernized information technology has changed their potential scope and scale. News sharing online and via social media can disseminate information at speeds, distances, and volumes unprecedented in electoral cycles of the past. Meanwhile, online political advertisements bring a new dimension to campaigns and additional challenges to election transparency and accountability. To adapt to the lack of clear and consistent regulations and policies governing online campaigning, citizen groups need to use new and adaptive methodologies to monitor online political discourse and financing.

Guidance Document on Election Integrity & Disinformation

The spread and prevalence of misinformation can pervert the will of voters, entrench authoritarians, and undermine confidence in democratic systems more broadly. This guidance document outlines NDI's programmatic approaches to addressing the threat of disinformation during elections. It focuses on the actions citizen election observers and international observers can take to mitigate, expose, and counter disinformation. It also stresses the importance of using open election data to deter disinformation and conduct advocacy around norms and standards to counter disinformation.

Full Guidance Document

Case Studies on Disinformation, Social Media, and Electoral Integrity

Over the past 15 to 20 years, the country of Georgia has faced widespread disinformation and propaganda campaigns, many of which began long before the issue came to the fore globally. The impact of these disinformation campaigns multiplied as Georgia’s rates of internet penetration doubled between 2013 and 2020. And the impacts increased, even more, when campaigns moved more online during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Tactics, Trends & Responses to Disinformation & Elections

Other Resources


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