Election Disinformation at Scale

A new Reality?

Trump’s tweets, COVID-19, Q-Anon, election rigging and vaccine misinformation, the last year has seen levels of online dis- and misinformation soar. The problem is now critical.

IN2 seeks to challenge what is now an epidemic of dis- and misinformation threatening democracy across the Middle East. We provide large-scale media awareness campaigns and community training programmes to our audiences across the region. We help them understand how best to interrogate the information they consume online and safeguard the integrity of their democratic processes. We aim to keep the information ecosystem as accurate and credible as possible.

This need is now more urgent than ever as 2021 will see key elections taking place in several Middle East states. Only through free and fair democratic processes can greater stability come to them. Recent years have seen online interference in

our campaigns always work to the same core principles. First, we seek to understand the problem: we rapidly map and build a model of the online information ecosystem in the country in question. Then, through ongoing monitoring and tracking, we provide our clients with the information they need to plan and adjust their approach. Given IN2’s long term presence in the Middle East, we have already built up a deep-level of knowledge about the region and the specific disinformation landscapes of countries like Iraq and Syria.

At IN2, we specifically focus on the intent behind the contested information. We are then best able to recommend and implement effective responses to counter or disrupt those who deliberately seek to deceive and confuse the electorate. Understanding where the information comes from, and why and how it is being disseminated are key to determining the right response. However, rarely do we seek to just counter false information. Instead, our focus is to assess its veracity, provide alternatives if necessary and allow our audiences to better understand and trust key narratives.

Groups or individuals who publish misinformation often do so believing the information is correct. When the error is pointed out to them, they will often willingly remove it, correct or update it. For disinformation, the sole purpose of which is to deceive, divide, confuse and mislead, a different strategy is needed. IN2 takes a multi-level approach to address the problem. We:

- Produce information that exposes and undermines the false narrative, targeting the same audiences.

- Work with our global social media partners to take down the intentionally false information.

- Expose the intent and motivations of disinformation actors and raise citizen awareness of attempts to manipulate or influence them. This makes citizens less likely to believe the narratives being pushed upon them or pass this content or its iterations on.

- Provide training to the electorate to help them fact-check and determine what is the truth.

At IN2, we hold ourselves to clear ethical guidelines. All activities are undertaken in the service of cleaning the information space of dis- and misinformation. We never stifle opposing viewpoints; we never counter correct reporting simply because it is unpalatable to our clients.

Critically, we work with Facebook-accredited social media partner platforms through which we can instigate the take down of dis- and misinformation. Our extensive networks crowd-source and fact-check the online spaces as well as employing tailored tech solutions to enable us to do this at scale.

IN2 exposes online falsehoods and promulgates factual information in appealing and relevant ways. We flood the online spaces with accurate high-quality information that is disseminated through our partner social media platforms. At all times, we ensure that our content is both engaging and informative for the relevant target audiences.

Our work is just one part of the urgent global need for countering increasingly sophisticated hostile disinformation campaigns. The fight is only just beginning but we are grateful that our clients understand the need to address this early on in the election process.

If you feel you can support us in this work or wish IN2 to focus on other areas of disinformation please let us know, we have similar experience fact checking and training at local and national level for economic, health, cyber and security information.

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