Although listed under Services, this is a Zettelkasten Overview supporting my newsletter (Sept 2020-present), during its focus on Disinformation in the US2020 elections, as explained fully in Don’t just Build a Second Brain: share (part of) it.
Where new technology enables, new forms of disinformation follow, so predicting social media tech trends should help prepare for future forms of disinformation. Clearly noone's having much success:
How better to predict (political) application of emerging (social media) tech? Ask:
IRA's 2016 tactics now mainstreamed by domestic groups, notably GOP =censorship through noise on an epic scale, practised by a sitting President on a domestic population. IRA probably nowhere near as dangerous as Trump & Fox News himself - Russians can get a hashtag trending and may convince a few people, but Trump can get people to poison themselves with bleach with a single press conference.
Attacks on independent journalists integral part of the domestic disinfo package:
Undermining legitimacy of election before it takes place has been a major Trump #disinfo effort, spanning social media to postal fraud, starting months before election:
Bigger picture: the idea that postal voting is flawed is pure disinformation, but has a long history as part of GOP's voter suppression campaigns - Time.
From ed. 4: (mid-October): There are two possible reasons why we are not talking as much about foreign interference. Both could be true. Only one is good news... anyone trying to mess with America probably realises they can’t get Trump re-elected, and so are better off focusing on the post-election period, which offers a “better chance to push more Americans to extremes than ever before”. - Six Disinformation Threats in the Post-Election Period.
They've certainly learnt to be bette at their job. From Russians Again Targeting Americans With Disinformation, Facebook and Twitter Say:
Paraphrasing JFK: the only thing we should fear about disinformation is the fear of disinformation.
Immune system over-response:
A domestic disinformation war also takes terrible toll on individuals:
Twitter did ban political ads. Small beer compared to a President with 80m followers, no respect for the truth, a nation-wide infrastructure (GOP) and huge sums of money.
Sudden flipflops in October inevitably sparked concerns about #censorship, as if this was an entirely new narrative, including a major attack re censorship on Twitter from Trump (on Twitter!).
See: #censorship and #disinformation (starting 2016).
Frameworks for understanding disinfo collected here.
What does it mean when a society can be so easily manipulated and turned against itself? Blaming Russians diverts responsibility: Trump and Fox News do more damage to US society and truth in general than any Russian, but are they not themselves symptoms as well as a perpetuating cause of a greater underlying problem?
Russian and others exploit flashpoints in American society, and election year 2020 has been rich: #BLM, Covid19 and Trump himself. If American society was more just, stable and fair, those flashpoints would not be there.
cf Clay Johnson's Information Diet, "if there was food that was poisoning us we wouldn’t care how hard the companies were trying" - Twitter bots are impersonating Black Americans to sow disinformation
Automated links to relevant public Curated Resources follow:
Here are the latest 9 resources I've Highlighted about Disinformation in the US 2020 elections (Overview). There's more reading over here.
DFRLab’s Foreign Interference Attribution Tracker (FIAT) database (see Interference2020.org) "captures allegations of foreign #us2020 interference... and assesses their credibility, bias, evidence, transparency, and impact".80 allegations were catalogued: a "sharp increase from 2016... vary widely in their evidence and objectivity, …
With more than a dozen congressional candidates appearing on ballots in November, Qanon is mainstream. While it looks like a lot of other conspiracy theories, this research provides a fascinating look at how the conspiracy's "Bakers" co-create their knowledgescape."QAnon doesn’t simply offer readers insider insight into current…
How a decades-long election delegitimisation campaign, amplified by social media disinformation, intersects with the death of a Chief Justice in a GoT-worthy season finale of “US democracy: Endgame”.
This edition’s 9 articles span the real meaning of “foreign meddling” and domestic flashpoints, social media platform preparations for Election Night and beyond, and how media has to go beyond factchecking as it tackles “pink slime” (yes, it’s a thing).
Donald Trump literally laughs factchecking off - it's good to have, but insufficient. To establish non-partisan status, factcheckers need to be equally tough on all sides, but all sides don't lie the same. They use euphemisms for 'lie', and check narrow, easy-to-debunk statements while ignoring the larger pattern of "the a…
Literature note: “How to Lose the Information War,” ... on disinformation as a geopolitical strategy...Mueller report: I.R.A.-created groups and accounts reached tens of millions... the troll factory found “authentic, local voices,” to foment large-scale distrust in government and democracy... and managed to get into the heads of powerful politici…
I'm (re)launching my newsletter to focus on disinformation during the 2020 US election. It's also part of a wider experiment in integrating Zettelkasten idea and knowledge management into my personal content strategy, hosted on MyHub.ai.