Personal Data Exploitation and Social Media Manipulation as a Security Threat for NATO Nations and Democratic Societies


  • Lauren Mannix Simon Fraser University


This paper seeks to examine the security threats that personal data exploitation and social media manipulation pose to NATO specifically and democracies broadly. Personal data exploitation poses a security threat to NATO not from a technological standpoint in terms of vulnerabilities in its cyber defences but because it is inextricably tied to social media manipulation. As the world’s largest security and defence organization NATO has a critical role to play in communicating the nature and consequences of the security threats related to data exploitation and social media manipulation. The ever-growing presence of misinformation and disinformation online has significantly impacted several NATO nations, which only underscores the need for collective effort in addressing these issues. Due to the manifold security threats that arise out of data exploitation and social media manipulation, success in countering these threats is contingent upon a whole-of-society approach.

Author Biography

Lauren Mannix, Simon Fraser University

Lauren Mannix obtained her Bachelor of Science in anthropology with a minor in professional communication from the University of Victoria in British Columbia. A recent alumnus of Simon Fraser University’s NATO Field School program, her current research interests encompass strategic communication and cyber defence, and increasing civic-military engagement to build trust and foster constructive dialogue against the current backdrop of contested information environments on social media platforms.






2022 NATO Field School and Sim Program Nominee best article for JMSS