How The Disinformation Machine Works, And How $400 Can Stop It

disinformation-illustration-dalle-openaiSpecifically when wars break out, disinformation kicks into high gear. In the wake of the October 7 Hamas attack, the internet has been swamped with a deluge of disinformation. This phenomenon isn't just about spreading falsehoods; it's a systematic attempt to amplify fake news and hijack credible news sources for the disinformation warfare. 

New Disinformation Storm: A Case Analysis
Since October 7, a surge of misinformation, ranging from subtly misleading to blatantly false, has been unleashed. It shows a sophisticated utilization of tactics commonly employed in both state-sponsored and private influence operations. These methods particularly focus on downplaying or outright denying the involvement of Hamas in the events on the Gaza border.

BBC Verifies Scale of Misinformation
BBC Verify's disinformation expert, Shayan Sardarizadeh, described the initial spike in misinformation as unprecedented. The conflict between Israel and Hamas immediately extended into the realm of information and psychological warfare. According to Sardarizadeh, the denialist narrative that “it was Israel that killed its own civilians on 7 October, not Hamas,” has become appallingly widespread online. The disinformation campaigns include the spread of conspiracy theories and the misuse of content from various other conflicts, inaccurately presented as being related to the Gaza Strip. Such tactics from the KGB playbook are social engineering on a grand scale. 

AI and Disinformation: A Dangerous Liaison
A particularly alarming development is the use of AI technologies in these disinformation campaigns. From deepfakes to automated fake accounts, these tools represent a significant escalation in the sophistication of these operations. For example, the Russian campaign made deepfakes of IDF soldiers and computer-generated posts for an army of automatically opened fake accounts.

Co-opting Credibility: The Playbook of Disinformation
Bad actors often target established news sources to lend authenticity to their narratives. By misrepresenting the reporting of credible outlets, they aim to create a foundation for atrocity denial and conspiracy theories. A notable instance of this is the manipulation of reporting from Israeli news sources to support false narratives.

When Disinformation Gets Shared As Misinformation
Well-intentioned sharing of disinformation ripples out and contributes to the problem. As narratives get shared and reshaped, the original source and context are often lost, leading to widespread acceptance of misleading or false information.

Countermeasures: Innovations in Combating Disinformation
In response to this escalating problem, there are innovative solutions like the one recently presented at BSides, where a counter disinformation system was built using the very tools employed by propagandists. This approach represents a creative and proactive way to tackle the challenge of disinformation. Here is a 10-minute video that shows you can counter against these types of attacks relatively easy, however, there are side effects to consider. This is very interesting to watch!

This is the original YouTube link:

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Topics: Disinformation

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