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In hopes of turning the tide: disinformation campaigns commence ahead of Russia’s 2024 Election

As the 2024 election approaches, former U.S. officials and cyber experts claim that Russia is already employing bots and phoney internet identities to propagate misinformation to harm President Joe Biden and other Democrats.

Attacks on Biden are being disseminated as part of Moscow's ongoing efforts to undermine US military assistance to Ukraine and US unity with NATO, according to analysts.

Europe is in a similar endeavor. In an attempt to sway the June European Parliamentary elections, France, Germany, and Poland stated this month that Russia has unleashed a torrent of disinformation. 

Bret Schafer, a senior fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy of the German Marshall Fund, suggests that Trump's opposition to US aid to Ukraine may increase Putin's potential rewards. Schafer monitors misinformation campaigns by Russia and other governments, saying, "Not that they didn't have an incentive to interfere in the last two presidential elections." "However, I believe that there is more motivation to meddle right now."

Jake Sullivan, Biden's national security advisor, stated on Sunday on NBC News's "Meet the Press" that there are "plenty of reasons to be concerned" about Russia's potential to meddle in the 2024 race. Still, he could not go into detail about the evidence. "We're going to be vigilant about that," he continued.

The main concerns of U.S. officials and experts are that Russia might attempt to influence the election by utilizing artificial intelligence tools to create a "deep fake" audio or video or by conducting a "hack and leak," similar to the politically damaging theft of internal Democratic Party emails by Russian military intelligence agents in 2016.

Though it's uncommon for individual accounts to go as viral as they once did, pro-Russian internet propaganda efforts are now commonplace on all major social media platforms, having flourished on Twitter and Facebook before the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

These influence operations frequently set up corresponding accounts across several websites, each with wildly different moderation guidelines. Though some are dormant, accounts from a pro-Russian campaign known as "People Say," which Facebook's owner Meta took action against late last year, are active on other platforms.

Although it hasn't updated in almost a year and only has 51 followers, a "People Say" account on X is still available. Its opposite on Telegram, which has drawn some far-right Americans as home, continues to publish contentious things and has over 5,000 members. 

According to analysts such as Brooking, false audio produced by artificial intelligence may pose a greater threat to the 2024 election than anything else related to Russia.

Experts warned that a planned deepfake or leak could not happen on a nationwide scale, but would rather target a swing state or district. It could be intended to generate doubt about the validity of ballot counting or deter certain voters from casting their ballots.

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