News. Debate. Community. Levers for a better democracy.
Election Dissection

Disinformation in 2020: new techniques, new worries

In recent days there's been some great coverage about how disinformation campaigns are evolving in 2020 and in what ways they represent an imminent threat to this year's U.S. election.

Our friends at the Alliance for Securing Democracy issued a report on new ways Russian actors are seeking to disrupt the American vote. Russia and its proxies are recruiting real, unwitting people in the U.S. to foment protests and discord, write report authors Jessica Brandt and Amber Frankland. With increasing frequency, the group says, Russia is targeting specific influencers, like journalists or activists, rather than relying on large troll farms.

The Russian campaign is attempting to "co-opt legitimate domestic voices within target societies for the purpose of disguising an operation as authentic advocacy," the report says.

The New York Times published this guide to four particular disinformation themes being spread on social media, both on the right and the left. They include campaigns to block access to vote drop boxes, that the Covid-19 pandemic is a scam to suppress the vote, that there's a coup being led by Democrats and that Election Day will mark the beginning of a civil war. The Times also did a thorough run-down on how right-wing commentator Dan Bongino, worked the false conspiracy theory about a coup being planned against President Trump.

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter

Finally, over at Roll Call, this piece shows how it hasn't just been Trump spreading exaggerated rumors about voter fraud. The Republican Party has followed the president's cues and with its own campaign to push the message over six months. And that's having an effect: over half of Republican voters now agree that the increase in mail-in voting this year is a major concern.

© Issue One. All rights reserved.