News on Producers of Disinformation

As the 2020 election enters its final phases, it feels like a lot could go wrong in the United States. Reports warn that hackers from Russia and China are targeting both parties, while the fringe conspiracy movement QAnon slips into the mainstream and possibly influences voters. And millions of people are talking about a different […]

As the nation continues to grapple with the pandemic, we’ve also had to manage a rising “infodemic,” an overabundance of misinformation about COVID-19. Recent Gallup/Knight research shows that a majority of Americans cite social media as a large reason for the infodemic. How are platforms handling and addressing this issue? On Episode 23 of “The […]

This year, with an expected surge of mail-in ballots due to the pandemic, we may not know anything definitive for days. As my colleague Barton Gellman wrote, there is a blueprint for Trump to never concede should any shred of doubt remain about the outcome. Television executives have no “gentleman’s agreement” about how to handle […]

Two years ago, most Americans knew nothing about QAnon, the ever-growing, diffuse, and violent movement devoted to a loosely connected set of conspiracy theories, most of which tie back to the idea that Donald Trump is leading a holy war against a high-powered cabal of child traffickers, some of whom drink blood. But at the time, it […]

…the idea of a single “Russian playbook” appears again and again in discussions of social media manipulations. Politicians, news outlets and commentators have used the phrase over and over for the past three years. It has mutated into an amorphous concept that can accompany almost any news cycle: Black Lives Matter protests should be wary […]

Investigations by news organizations, US intelligence agencies, the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee, and of course by special prosecutor Robert Mueller, all reached the same conclusion: The Russian government meddled in the 2016 presidential elections. Some observers have gone so far as to conclude that Russia’s machinations were essential to Trump’s victory. By taking advantage of social media’s tendency to aggregate and […]

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With Election Day only 53 days away, campaigns are scrambling to contact every voter they can. Text messaging has become an indispensable tool in the desperate quest to reach people, bypassing email inboxes cluttered with promotions and spam, and breaking through amid the flashing ads of the internet and promoted posts on social media. Text […]

Manipulated videos are rapidly becoming a fixture of the 2020 election. On Aug. 30, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) used Twitter to share a video that was misleadingly edited to distort Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s views on defunding the police. That same day, Dan Scavino, the White House social media director, tweeted a manipulated video […]

The Center for Media Engagement in the U.S. teamed up with researchers from Erasmus University in the Netherlands and NOVA University in Portugal to figure out how people from these three countries define hateful speech and whether they differentiate it from profanity. The results offer global guidance for social media platforms and news outlets on […]

Mark Zuckerberg is the world’s most powerful unelected person, and it drives me bonkers when he misrepresents what’s happening on Facebook.In an interview that aired on Tuesday, Zuckerberg was asked big and thorny questions about his company: Why are people sometimes cruel to one another on Facebook, and why do inflammatory, partisan posts get so […]

According to Facebook, Twitter, and the FBI,, a website to which Krakow had just submitted his 10th freelance contribution, was a Russian cutout, possibly an operation of the infamous Internet Research Agency. While both companies credited the FBI for the initial tip, Facebook and Twitter differed slightly in their attribution, with Twitter writing, “we […]

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