Article Tags

I’ve collated articles on a wide variety of topics (coronavirus; abortion; elections), focusing on different aspects of disinformation (creation; amplification; disruption). The articles have been tagged based on different qualities, to help quickly finding content relevant to your interests. This page explains the tags.

Tag: Influence Cycle Stage

“The Malign Foreign Influence Campaign Cycle” (MFICC) was created by the US Cyber Digital Task in part of their work to cover “covert influence operations, including disinformation operations, to influence public opinion and sow division”. It breaks down a disinformation campaign into six steps, and looks at how adversaries and defenders act in each:

Source: US Cyber Digital Task Force; REPORT OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S CYBER DIGITAL TASK FORCE – Page 13

When I add an article to the database, I label them based on which stage of the cycle their content pertains to. For example, “Meet the celebrities pushing 5G coronavirus conspiracies to millions of fans” talks about amplification of disinformation, focusing on the adversary (in this case badly informed people with lots of influence who can saturate the environment and confuse the public), whereas “Google queries in Africa reveal how coronavirus disinformation is evolving” looks at amplification from the point of view of the defender; talking about steps taken to provide context and enable scrutiny in Africa.

This has allowed me to add in articles which are adjacent to Disinformation, but don’t specifically talk about it – like “How K-pop information warfare outmaneuvered the far right“, which talks about tactics used to disrupt targeted hashtags before they could gain amplification .

There is some ambiguity; the lines between production, publication and amplification are very blurred. I tend to lean towards adding multiple labels if it’s hard to pick between two steps of the cycle.

Tag: Disinformation Type

First Draft’s information disorder taxonomy defines seven categories which encapsulate the spectrum of content considered “fake news” in common parlance:

Source: First Draft; Understanding Information Disorder – Page 6

Their work does a fantastic job of diving into each category – if you’d like to learn more I’d recommend you read it!

Not every item has a “Disinformation Type” tag. Some articles don’t focus on disinformation itself, instead examining tools used by aggressors (e.g. “How anti-vaxxers get around Instagram’s new hashtag controls“)

Other Tags

There are several options which allow you to find articles you’re interested in:

TagWhat is it?
Content ContextWhat the disinformation is disinforming about (e.g. Abortion, Immigration)
Content TypeWhat the disinformation actually is (e.g. Screenshot, Video)
Dissemination PlatformWhere the disinformation was published and amplified (e.g. Twitter, Facebook)
Amplification MethodHow the disinformation was amplified (e.g. Bot Accounts, Public Figures)

Other Other Tags

I’m not sure all that tag options I have are super useful; sometimes I experiment with new labels, or change my mind. These are those, and may be removed at some point, or may be improved. I’m trying to embrace maybe having been wrong here (or I’m trying to avoid facing up to the sunk costs fallacy):

TagWhat is it?
Target GeographyMy interpretation of one or more of the target geographies. This is not great because it’s very hard to be certain of the actual target; I should probably update this to “Geographies mentioned”.
AggressorIn the case where the article has an attribution for the disinformation, I tag it here. This is a label which I think can be upgraded to a tag Proper, when I have time to polish this category.
Information Disorder CategoryI wanted to get examples of Malinformation (disinformation shared without malicious intent) vs Disinformation (sharing disinformation with malicious intent). This is incredibly subjective; I think this label would work better for catching edge cases where we can be confident in the intent of the aggressor.