Today, as in the past, disinformation threatens to undermine faith in electoral processes, solidarity among social groups, and even the notion of the truth itself. But the tactics and tools weaponised to do so are becoming increasingly more subtle and sophisticated, requiring democratic policymakers and stakeholders to become more proactive to anticipate worrying trends.
Capabilities to both monitor and match the threat of more advanced and diffuse disinformation, however, have stagnated. Responses to evolving disinformation tactics remain reactive. Online platforms are taking more proactive steps themselves to limit disinformation, but monitoring continues to occur only where disinformation is most obvious.
If we want to gain insights into the future of malicious disinformation campaigns, we have to look beyond today’s technologies. Designing solutions for tomorrow’s challenges requires investigating their roots: both in emerging technologies as well as in the isolated cases of disinformation still hidden in niche corners of the internet. Today’s outliers will shape tomorrow’s democratic discourse.
This is where our new disinformation threat registry, Disinfo Radar, comes into play: an interactive online resource exploring new trends and tools in the disinformation environment.
The Disinfo Radar project will examine three core pillars of disinformation:
|Emerging technological tools used to produce disinformation|
|New tactics for propagating manipulated content|
Untold stories harnessing these tools and tactics to frame false narratives
Our data-driven analyses will provide regular updates on the ever-evolving disinformation landscape and consider the development of new tools, techniques and narratives used for online manipulation.
In doing so, the project aims to anticipate the disinformation toolkit of tomorrow to strengthen democratic societies’ preparedness for the challenges ahead.