THE IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA CONVEYED RUSSIAN-BACKED DISINFORMATION IN A POLARIZED AMERICA: AN EXAMINATION OF THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH’S ETHICAL RESPONSIBILITY TO RESPOND
Murphy, Brian J.
For the last forty years, America has experienced an erosion of trust in institutions. The introduction of social media has only accelerated this trend. Hostile nation-states such as Russia have taken advantage of these conditions with their online disinformation campaign. The decline in trust has left the door open for populism and illiberalism to enter. Some believe the very fabric of American liberalism is at stake. So what are the ethical responsibilities of the executive branch to counter covert campaigns such as the one coming from Russian-backed disinformation circulating within the US? The practical challenges are daunting if the executive branch addresses the threat to the homeland. The process to limit this problem is wrought with profound political implications. By its very nature, social media-based disinformation is inextricably linked with existing complex societal cleavages, the First Amendment, and politics. But the failure to do anything is an abdication of the government’s ethical responsibilities. This raises the question of where the line is for government intervention.
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Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch (Including: Part I of Executive Order 12674 and 5 C.F.R. Part 2635 Regulation) Unknown author (United States. Office of Government Ethics, 1992-08)