Fake News Demanding the Collective Defense

Fake News Demanding the Collective


Demanding the Collective Defense

When the term disinformation became widespread after the 2016

elections, it largely referred to state actors targeting political campaigns.

Despite government vigilance and extensive efforts, the nature of the

threat continues to evolve faster than democracies can adapt.

Government actors, financially motivated contract disinformation

companies, and ideologically motivated individuals spread

disinformation targeting companies, individuals, and governments alike.

Now that the US election year is underway and tumultuous changes

in the geopolitical landscape are underway, we expect an increase

in disinformation campaigns targeting democratic institutions and

private sector entities. With stagnant regulation and limited

government protection, businesses must confront the threat today

if they want to protect their ability to operate tomorrow.

In the last two years alone, disinformation campaigns have caused

significant brand, reputation, and value damage. In 2020, online retailer

Wayfair witnessed an attempt by QAnon conspiracy theorists, who

are known to attack politicians with baseless accusations of corruption

and abuse, to convince consumers that the company dealt with children.

With your furniture supplies. Many ignored these ludicrous accusations,

but they likely inspired calls for boycotts, attempts to manipulate the

value of the company's stock, disclosure of the physical locations of

executives' home and office addresses, and efforts to shut down

downtown operations. of calls flooding the phone. lines.

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Recently, disinformation campaigns have exploited false narratives

about pharmaceutical companies, fueled crypto fraud and coin

pumping, and sought to manipulate consumer trust in high-tech solutions

like space technologies, electric vehicles, and vaccines. In just one

example, our organization, Alethea Group, conducted an investigation

in 2020 in which we assessed that a network led by Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui and former adviser to President Trump Steve Bannon manipulated

related conversations.

To QAnon in order to propagate the election. conspiracies But the

network didn't just focus on options, it also mentioned leading

companies and private brands, including travel and hospitality

companies, food, beverage, and technology companies.

As the threat has evolved, the rules of the digital space have not been

respected and the agencies that have historically tried to defend us

from disinformation face an asymmetry that is difficult to overcome

on their own. A combination of legislative and bureaucratic inertia,

limitations in social media data collection, and the failure to develop

new technological solutions to respond to the threat only exacerbated

this asymmetry, as state entities often did not have sufficient

resources to defend themselves. against the entire threat landscape. .

If organizations cannot trust the government to defend them in the

digital sphere, the private sector must take the lead in protecting

customers, employees, and the bottom line. By implementing

strategies to catch nascent disinformation campaigns before they

take off, companies can mitigate malicious attempts to manipulate

their brands, reputations, stock prices, and consumer trust.

In addition to defending against reputational damage by launching

accurate messaging campaigns based on reality, there are often

opportunities to seek redress against those who launch disinformation

campaigns by exposing their efforts or taking legal action.

And by sharing information with the government, companies can

also increase their situational awareness, allowing law enforcement

and the intelligence community to work within the government to

take action against those seeking to harm US interests.

Disinformation is not only a threat to democracy; it is also a threat to

our economy. This means that companies and individuals, not just

governments, have an important role to play in exposing and

mitigating attempts at malicious influence, to protect themselves

and their economic interests.

s and to help defend our society, which is huge. Companies can act to

protect consumers and shareholders in ways that the government

cannot, working to uncover and expose the threat actors that target

them, and pursuing a variety of remedies, from legal action to

public information campaigns. Our collective democratic and

economic interests will depend on it.

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