New report examines the manipulation ecosystem of Telegram and Whatsapp

Report “Manipulation ecosystem of social messaging platforms” offers a landscape scan of the manipulation tools and services available for WhatsApp and Telegram, finding as diverse a group of services on the open web. The report aims to assess the tools and services: evaluating the cost, methods and scale of manipulation, quality of manipulation tools and services, and the ability of WhatsApp and Telegram to identify and counter manipulation on their platforms.

Aims of the report:

  1. Mapping the online market for manipulation tools and services available for WhatsApp and Telegram.
  2. Assessing the effectiveness of these tools and services against the protective mechanisms put up by the messaging applications.
  3. Provide national institutions and communications practitioners with an overview of the scale and effect of manipulation on these platforms.

Conclusions:

  1. The manipulation of social messaging platforms, especially mass messaging, is an information influence and cyber-security risk.
  2. The manipulation ecosystem predominantly caters to mass messaging services – but that might change with monetisation.
  3. Manipulation services and tools are widely available, but generally display limited sophistication and usability.
  4. Device fingerprinting is a useful way to detect manipulation, but safeguards against personal data breaches should be put in place.
  5. The overlaying of risks exponentially increases the dangers associated with social messaging.