Adversarial Narratives: A New Model for Disinformation

Decker, Ben

Today’s online threat landscape is signifcantly more complex and blended, which may lead to many abusive and harmful behaviours slipping through the gaps of current moderation models.
Disinformation agents, both domestic and foreign, have a large library of content to draw from in crafting new adversarial narratives. In practice this means less overtly fabricated pieces of content.
Adversarial narratives like “Stop 5G” are effective because they infame social tensions by exploiting and amplifying perceived grievances of individuals, groups and institutions. The end game is to foster long-term confict – social, political and economic.
One key element of these disinformation campaigns is that they contain seeds of factual information that are planted throughout the process.
As seen in the “Stop 5G” campaign, it is only later on, once you travel away from the original source, that the fabricated conspiracy elements start to be added on.
Understanding and defending against adversarial narratives requires analysis of both the message’s contents and context, and how they are spread through networks and across platforms.