The EU-HYBNET Policy Brief No4. – Fame on social media, a new currency of cybercrime? examines how social media platforms can be exploited by malicious actors for various purposes, such as spreading disinformation, influencing public opinion, recruiting followers, extorting money, or launching cyberattacks. The brief argues that fame on social media has become a valuable asset that can be traded, sold, or stolen by cybercriminals. The brief also provides some recommendations for policymakers and practitioners to counter this emerging threat.
Some of the main points of the brief are:
- – Social media platforms have enabled anyone to become famous online and reach large audiences with minimal effort and cost. This has created a demand for social media fame among individuals and organisations who seek recognition, influence, or profit.
- However, fame on social media also attracts malicious actors who want to exploit it for their own agendas.
- These actors can use various techniques to manipulate social media algorithms, create fake accounts or followers, hack into legitimate accounts, or coerce users into giving up their credentials or paying ransom.
- These activities pose serious challenges for security and democracy in Europe and beyond. They can undermine trust in online information sources, distort public debates, amplify extremist views, disrupt critical infrastructure systems, or cause financial losses for users and platforms.
- To address these challenges, the brief suggests some possible actions such as: enhancing cooperation and information sharing among stakeholders; raising awareness and digital literacy among users; developing ethical standards and best practices for social media platforms; strengthening legal frameworks and enforcement mechanisms; and supporting research and innovation on countering hybrid threats.
EU-HYBNET is a project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. It aims to empower a Pan-European network of security practitioners, stakeholders, academics, industry players, and SME actors across EU to counter hybrid threats. Hybrid threats are complex and multidimensional challenges that combine conventional and unconventional methods to undermine security and democracy⁴.
Some of the objectives of EU-HYBNET are:
- To monitor developments in research and innovation activities as applied to hybrid threats
To indicate priorities for innovation uptake and industrialisation
To determine priorities for standardisation
To establish conditions for cooperation and information sharing among stakeholders
To raise awareness and resilience among citizens and communities
To support policy development and implementation at EU level
VOST Europe is a Network member of EU-Hybnet, being currently represented by VOST Portugal.