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Disinfo 101

Disinformation runs the spectrum from satirical content to full-blown fabricated disinformation. First Draft identifies seven forms of mis- and disinformation. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Generally, the content in the lower part of the graphic has a lower potential to cause harm. The content types that are listed at the top are those that have the potential to cause great harm to both individuals or societies. Often it is a question of intent. The two words -- misinformation and disinformation -- mean different things. Misinformation can be simply the result of an error - a misreported fact in a news story while manipulated or fabricated content has been created intentionally for the purpose of deceiving. These words are often used interchangeably but have very different meanings having to do with intent.

First Draft, whose materials are cited above, is a UK-based global resource for tackling these issues for journalists and citizens. They created Information Disorder: The Essential Glossary to help us understand the terms that are commonly associated with disinformation.

In addition to First Draft's wealth of resources, FullFact.org is another UK-based nonprofit that provides very readable an non-techie guides for spotting false content:

If you are on social media, we recommend that you follow FirstDraftNews.com and FullFact.org to get updates, news, and information. Disinformation is ever-evolving and the best prevention is education.

In June 2019, Indivisible New Rochelle, Indivisible Westchester and Indivisible NYCD-16 hosted a Disinformation Forum, "Beat the Bots and Trash the Trolls." The main goal of the forum was to educate ourselves on the dynamics of disinformation and election interference via social media. How is it that troll-generated disinformation gains traction? How do bogus tweets and posts get amplified across the world in a matter of hours? What should we expect as we approach the election of 2020? We were fortunate to hear from two experts, Renee DiResta and Justin Hendrix.

Disinfo Forum

Renee DiResta

Research Director at New Knowledge and Co-Author of The Disinformation Report for the US Senate Intelligence Committee

Justin Hendrix

Executive Director of the NYC Media Lab, Founder of the March for Truth

The following podcast provides a high-level recap of the Disinformation Forum and we consider what next steps the Indivisible community can take to innoculate ourselves against false information.

Russia 2016

NBC News: Factory of Lies - The Russian Playbook (27m full video)

"Americans elected Donald Trump president after a bruising campaign mired by disinformation online and suspicious hacks. We now know the Russian government interfered in the elections by manipulating social media in a bold attempt to influence the vote. The Russian tactics may have been new, but their propaganda playbook is age-old. The NBC News Business, Tech and Media team recounts what happened in 2016 and sheds light on what it means for our democracy going forward." 

Sam Harris - Waking Up Podcast Episode #145 - Information War

In her interview with Sam Harris, Renee DiResta, Research Director of New Knowledge, provides a brilliant overview of the Disinformation campaign that was waged by the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA)

On December 17, 2018, New Knowledge and Oxford Internet Institute delivered reports to the Senate Intelligence Committee. The executive summaries for each report are essential reading, and they will most likely provoke you to read further.

Indictment Against Internet Research Agency (IRA) the Grand Jury for the District of Columbia

On February 16, 2018 Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 members of Russias's Internet Research Agency (IRA), stating that: "Defendants knowingly and intentionally conspired with each other (and with persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury) to defraud the United States by impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of the government through fraud and deceit for the purpose of interfering with the U.S. political and electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016. "