Tactics used in Disinformation campaigns

I would like to create a database of Tactics used to spread disinformation. I think this will be useful for people who want to learn about the ways they are being manipulated online. You can read about why I think this here, and how I’m doing it here. Or, you can get straight into reading about Tactics down below!

Disinformation Tactics

Disinformation Tactics are broader strategies that may bring together a couple of different individual techniques across stages of the Disinformation Cycle. Some Techniques may be used more often by specific Personas than others, and some Environmental Factors may be particularly helpful for a Technique’s success.

Using ‘Paper Terrorism’ to coerce targets and waste their resources
Paper Terrorism is a harassment tactic in which people coordinate in order to hit a target with lots of illegitimate lawsuits at the same time, threatening to use them to take away targets' money or freedom unless they acquiesce to a set of demands.
Impersonating an existing news organisation
Threat actors can exploit peoples' existing trust for a news organisation by pretending to be them when disseminating falsehoods. This also wastes resource of the targeted organisation.

See all Tactic profiles

Environmental Factors

Environmental Factors are things which passively contribute to the spread of dis/misinformation. One example would be Covid-19; at the start of the pandemic people knew very little about it, but wanted to know very much. This combination meant inauthentic narratives could more easily spread; people trying to learn about Covid could accidentally take in bad information. This situation wasn’t intentionally manufactured to spread dis/misinformation, but it was one that helped achieve that goal.

An Information Void facilitating the spread of misinformation
Information Voids occur when something major happens which people want to know about, but as it's a new thing there's not a good way to learn about it. Threat actors looking to manipulate people may exploit Information Voids to further their cause.
How Facebook’s Algorithm amplifies extremist disinformation to new members of the platform
Facebook’s algorithms actively promote groups dedicated to extremist disinformation narratives (more than you would expect extremist groups to be promoted), which amplifies their reach.

Mitigations

There are steps we can take to reduce the probability that threat actors’ Tactics can successfully manipulate us. These profiles detail some of those steps:

Double checking an image’s source by Reverse Image Searching
One way you can double check the narrative being presented alongside an image is to use one of many free online tools to see if the same image can be found elsewhere on the internet.

Personas

Personas represent categorisations of people who contribute to the spread of information disorder, including disinformation (e.g. nation states influencing political narratives) and misinformation (e.g. people believing and spreading information which is false).

  • Persona: Mind-Hacktivist
    • Decide to Act, Produce, Publish, Amplify: A Mind-Hacktivist is someone who intentionally participates in any stage of a disinformation campaign for ideological reasons only.