Disinformation central to battle of narratives?


While misinformation is false and often harmful information, which is not shared with malicious intent, disinformation is false and malicious information, which is shared deliberately to cause harm, notes analyst Jonathan Tanner.

Credit: ODI

Grouped together as ‘MDI’, tackling misinformation and disinformation will require different strategies, he writes in a report for the UK’s Overseas Development Institute. The best strategies for dealing with MDI will always require an understanding of local information ecosystems, including offline networks of influence in communities with lower levels of digital penetration.

The ability to control or shape narrative (see above) is one of the most important aspects of power, Tanner adds. MDI can form part of a deliberate political strategy to exacerbate existing social tensions or sow doubt and confusion. It is present in debates around major political issues like climate change, migration and inequality, and also in localised or event-specific discourse. RTWT

Credit: Harvard

The internet and social media held out the promise of accessing vast stores of information, building community, and empowering speech, notes analyst John Podesta. Communications of all kinds were made easier by reducing friction, increasing access, and inducing transparency. But this rapid change with the internet and social media created new substantial threats to democracy, privacy, and national security, he writes in the Foreword to Terms of Disservice: How Silicon Valley is Destructive by Design by Dipayan Ghosh, published by Brookings Institution Press.

The Cambridge Analytica revelations, frequent disclosures about privacy and security breaches, and shocking policy decisions implicating democratic processes have become second nature to the internet sector—and have rightly forced our attention fully on the inner workings of Facebook, Google, and Amazon, argues Ghosh, co-director of the Digital Platforms & Democracy Project at the Harvard Kennedy School. The vox populi stands squarely against the industry’s interests.


Disinformation is a key focus of “Power 3.0 | Authoritarian Resurgence, Democratic Resilience,” a podcast which explores cutting-edge research and ideas about authoritarian resurgence, democratic resilience, and other emergent trends in democracy studies, from the National Endowment for Democracy’s International Forum for Democratic Studies.




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