‘Not everything is blatantly false,’ says Scott Jones. ‘Sometimes it’s a slight manipulation of the facts — just enough to sow division’. The head of Canada’s new cybersecurity centre says the jury is still out on whether state-sponsored disinformation campaigns are actually having any impact on voters’ intentions, but that Canadians should still use a “critical eye” when they read news online. “There’s a lot of research going on in terms of what the effect could be,” said Scott Jones, the head of the Communications Security Establishment’s newly-established Cyber Centre, at a press conference last week.
CSE has previously said that it has noticed an increase in “social media botnet amplification” and the use of social media by adversaries to reach their audience but Jones said a lot of the content is unpersuasive and obviously false, especially when compared to articles from establishment media.
“I’m not saying delete your accounts and move back to sending postcards. I’m saying consume it with a critical eye and look for more trusted sources,” said Jones. “Not everything is blatantly false. Sometimes it’s a slight manipulation of the facts — just enough to sow division.”