Recent headlines on the role of Russian disinformation in the 2016 U.S. presidential election have ignited important policy discussions on the impact of information warfare on democratic systems. While disinformation has been used for decades to turn the tides of policy in the favor of its perpetrators, the scale and nature of modern disinformation campaigns pose a qualitatively different challenge to the future of democracy. The ubiquity of social media, the ability to individually target voters through massive amounts of personal data, the use of sophisticated behavioral modelling and the incorporation of artificial intelligence into disinformation operations require a far more urgent and serious response from the policy community.

What makes some people more susceptible to disinformation?

Disinformation is one of the thorniest problems facing citizens online around the world today. Recent reports have highlighted that the problem is not only present, but indeed it is becoming more grave in the absence of proper solutions to combat it. While considerable thought and research have been dedicated to technological solutions, efforts at understanding the human mechanics of disinformation are still nascent. Exploring what demographics are most vulnerable or most likely to be targeted, why they are receptive to disinformation, and the mechanics of how disinformation spreads within their networks online and offline is key to finding effective solutions in the long term.

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INFO/tegrity and NDI’s Efforts to Combat Disinformation

Long before the issue of Russian disinformation became the subject of headlines in the U.S., NDI worked with partners to understand and counter efforts to manipulate information. NDI has continued to expand its in-house capacity and its external partnerships in this area through an initiative we've called INFO/tegrity, which focuses on efforts to detect, analyze, and combat disinformation online.

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Disinformation: A New Challenge to Democracy or More of the Same?

Recent headlines on the role of Russian disinformation in the 2016 U.S. presidential election have ignited important policy discussions on the impact of information warfare on democratic systems. While disinformation is not new and has been used for years to turn the tides of policy in the favor of its perpetrators, developments with respect to social media, big data, and artificial intelligence mean that disinformation now poses a very different type of threat to democracy.

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