Thursday, May 23, 2019

Information operations: more than fake news

There's a new report just published by Demos (the UK think-tank):
Krasodomski-Jones, A., Smith, J., Jones, E., Judson, E. and Miller, C. (2019). Warring Songs: Information Operations in the Digital Age. Demos.
They define information operations as "A non-kinetic, coordinated attempt to inauthentically manipulate an information environment in a systemic/strategic way, using means which are coordinated, covert and inauthentic in order to achieve political or social objectives." (p. 12, which expands on each of these terms, e.g. non-kinetic means "confined to use of information, and not to include the use of kinetic operations such as sabotage or electronic interference.")
They propose a taxonomy of information operations, based on analysis of "39 case studies, across 19 countries", identifying four aims (Affect sympathetic changes in behaviour and perception; Reduce oppositional participation; Reduce quality of communications environment; Reduce quality of available information) and associated strategies and tactics.
They make a point of resisting the idea that it is all about "fake news" "The majority of cases which we reviewed did involve deception in some way, but this was not restricted to content alone - for instance, false information being disseminated is deceptive, but so is the use of false accounts to share content - true or false - online." (p23)
Photo by Sheila Webber: the Dark Side takes over Sheffield, May 2019 (or does it???)

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