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Research Paper: Impact of social media on national security

Social Media are connection and mass communication tools, characterized by a global diffusion and an ever-growing level of use, considering their handiness and flexibility, as well as their extreme cheapness. 

Using these media can cause several negative effects for national security and unfavourable consequences for a state’s strategic interests. Nevertheless, their use can also lead to remarkable opportunities for a country in order to reach its strategic relevant goals, foresee how threats will work in the future and figure 
out how to counter their effects.
 
Since  Social Media are extremely quickly evolving and are facing a many-sided interaction with geoeconomic and socio-cultural elements, it is important to constantly monitor how they develop, analyse how they work, and measure their potentialities. This process aims at making the states not be caught by surprise in case of a potential offensive use of Social Media by adversaries and at changing such innovative tools into resources of primary importance, to be ready for all the bodies involved in the protection of the national security.
 
Therefore, a national “Social Media Strategy” added to an in-depth and up-to-date knowledge about Social Media can help developing high capabilities of prevision and analysis (e.g. monitoring conversations and content shared on Social Media), arranging effective methods to counter adversaries’ propaganda and interferences (e.g. releasing certain information and/or multimedia content via Social Media in order to hinder propaganda or disinformation campaigns), improving governmental 
agencies and institutions’ performances (e.g. more inter-institutional information-sharing and quicker decision-making thanks to the use of customised Social Media), strengthening a state’s geopolitical position and its international credibility (e.g. carrying out influence operations with the integrated use of Social 
Media and other media).