Last week, social media counter-influence pioneer Clint Watts proposed a new framework for understanding the current state of online influence operations in a post at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Clint’s clarity and concision continue to be a real asset to a rapidly developing, but still quite chaotic field of study. Tersely, the framework places Russian 2016-style interventions at the mid-point of generational progress; and it suggests that future operations will be substantially darker and more authoritarian.

Five Generations of Online Media Manipulation — Clint Watts, FPRI

This framework is in the same spirit as work I will be presenting at Misinfo Workshop 2019 in San Francisco on May 14. Summarizing the joint work of a number of collaborators on the Misinfosec Working Group of the Credibility Coalition, I will be discussing a paper entitled Misinfosec: Applying Information Security Paradigms to Misinformation Campaigns1 that I co-wrote with Sara-Jayne Terp2, Pablo Breuer3 and Courtney Crooks4. While the current propaganda landscape is a bit scary for opponents of authoritarianism, it’s exciting to see frameworks emerge for its amelioration. Clint Watts’ leadership-by-example should be a lesson to us all.

  1. Please contact us for an advance copy of the paper
  2. SOFWERX
  3. US Special Operations Command
  4. Georgia Tech Research Institute

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