It has been said that a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. Social media and internet ad-supported business models that capitalize on capturing attention have introduced powerful technological enablers that are supercharging the targeting, dissemination and amplification of false information online. Influence operations have been quick to use these tools to manipulate and compromise freedom of thought.
Assuming these ad-based business models are here to stay, at least for now, steps must be taken to address the problematic elements that influence operators are leveraging. Remediation efforts must both prevent amplification of harmful content, and increase the risk, cost and complexity to the influence operator.
Alexa Raad describes frameworks that can be used to analyze the stages, tactics, techniques and procedures used in influence operations, and outlines the need in the United States for regulation in four areas — actions which, alongside effective public-private collaboration and increased media literacy, would help to “mitigate the pollution of our information ecosystem and protect our freedom of thought.”