#Disinformation - So, What's New?

Two really useful #Disinformation and political warfare related sources out there today. First is a brilliant collection of video essays in the New York Times today called Operation Infektion, charting how the Russian states sees and deploys these techniques and how they have developed over time. Check it out here. (The screen grab below is from the first video. I’ve decided to adopt it as my go-to definition)

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There’s been a discussion raging for a while - is Disinformation new or is it an old political trick with a new name, and this is important because whatever becomes general accepted as the truth will determine how governments and large organisations react. If its not new - some will be tempted to argue - what’s the point in doing anything about it. For what it’s worth; while some elements aren’t new, there is at least one way in which the new age of Disinformation differs from its Cold War predecessors, and that’s the way new technology and social media infrastructure allow people to earn money from it.

Previously, the KGB, FSB, GRU - or whoever - had to pay journalists, set up outlets in various countries, maintain huge state run media machines etc. Now, cleverly crafted narratives that latch on to people’s existing fears and prejudices draw huge audiences and allow hangers-on to make money via platforms like YouTube and Facebook.

While you’re at it; check out this very useful Twitter thread from Jamie Bartlett breaking down the differences between Disinformation, Fake News and Propaganda