Recent events have demonstrated that targeted disinformation campaigns can have consequences that impact the lives and safety of information consumers. On social media platforms and in messaging apps, disinformation spread like a virus, infecting information consumers with contempt for democratic norms and intolerance of the views and actions of others. These events have highlighted the deep political and social divisions within the United States. Disinformation helped to ignite long-simmering anger, frustration, and resentment, resulting, at times, in acts of violence and other unlawful behavior.
DHS Public-Private Analytic Exchange Program Report: Combatting Targeted Disinformation Campaigns A Whole-of-Society Issue October 2019
In today’s information environment, the way consumers view facts, define truth, and categorize various types of information does not adhere to traditional rules. The shift from print sources of information to online sources and the rise of social media have had a profound impact on how consumers access, process, and share information. These changes have made it easier for threat actors to spread disinformation and exploit the modern information environment, posing a significant threat to democratic societies. Accordingly, disinformation campaigns should be viewed as a whole-of-society problem requiring action by government stakeholders, commercial entities, media organizations, and other segments of civil society.