Countering Disinformation in the U.S.

This image shows a close-up of two individuals looking at information on a mobile phone, conveying how smart phones and social media play a large role in our lives.The U.S. Cyberspace Solarium Commission has released Countering Disinformation in the United States, a report detailing the current information ecosystem in the United States. This report addressed two main concerns, foreign influences and public awareness. Foreign influencers, like Russia, China, and Iran, “conduct operations to spread both disinformation and misinformation in the United States in an effort to undermine public confidence in core democratic institutions, sow discord and polarize the population, and place the health and safety of Americans at risk.” In an effort to create division and mistrust, these countries have spread conspiracy theories, propaganda, and disinformation related to wide range of topics including vaccination, race relations, and military operations.

However, these efforts can only be effective if the public is susceptible to such tactics. Raising public awareness and digital literacy is a key component in combating the spread and influence of disinformation. To address these issues the report makes several recommendations, including establishing “a Civic Education Task Force”, funding “the Department of Justice to provide grants to nonprofit centers seeking to identify, expose, and explain malign foreign influence campaigns to the American public”, and creating “a grants program at the Department of Homeland Security designed to equip state and local governments with the personnel and resources necessary to identify foreign disinformation campaigns and incorporate countermeasures into public communications strategy.”

 

For more information on topics related to this piece visit the HSDL Featured Topic on Disinformation. Articles related to COVID-19 Disinformation, National Security, and International Relations can also be found in the HSDL.

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