Protecting Electoral Integrity in the Digital Age | The Report of the Kofi Annan Commission on Elections and Democracy in the Digital Age
New information and communication technologies (ICTs) pose difficult challenges for electoral integrity. In recent years foreign governments have used social media and the Internet to interfere in elections around the globe. Disinformation has been weaponized to discredit democratic institutions, sow societal distrust, and attack political candidates. Social media has proved a useful tool for extremist groups to send messages of hate and to incite violence. Democratic governments strain to respond to a revolution in political advertising brought about by ICTs. Electoral integrity has been at risk from attacks on the electoral process, and on the quality of democratic deliberation.
The relationship between the Internet, social media, elections, and democracy is complex, systemic, and unfolding. Our ability to assess some of the most important claims about social media is constrained by the unwillingness of the major platforms to share data with researchers. Nonetheless, we are confident about several important findings.