After Capitol riot, a call to protect veterans from disinformation

Vladimir Barash, the director of Graphika Labs, which tracks the flow of influence campaigns online, presented research to the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee in 2019 which shows that foreign disinformation targeting veterans on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter dates back to 2011.

Veterans represent “a target of interest for both foreign operators and commercial disinformation actors,” Barash told the committee, because they are “highly respected members of society who positively influence their country and their community.”

“At the same time,” he testified, they represent “a vulnerable population in the context of the digital divide.”

In online veteran communities, experts say, disinformation actors often insert themselves in discussions about mental health and reintegration to civilian life with content related to Black Lives Matter, immigration policy or kneeling during the singing of the National Anthem to protest police violence.