Given the growing interest in mis/disinformation, propaganda, falsehoods, deep fakes and digital literacy, we've pulled together a collection of links from our writing, that of colleagues and works of particular note that offer critical background to understand the modern world of contested narratives, the history of influence and persuasion research in the domain of conflict and other works of interest to researchers interested in the field. We'll update this list periodically over time, so check back and feel free to use this as a starting point for courses in information warfare!
A brief introduction to agenda setting, originally developed a number of years ago for teaching, that offers starting points on the magic bullet model, the Payne Fund Studies and lessons learned from WWI and WWII. This unit just barely scratches the surface of the topic, but offers a set of starting points for those just learning about historical perspectives and who are not already deeply immersed in works such as Lasswell.
The early history of what eventually became known as FBMS, FBIS and today the OSC was built on a foundation of propaganda and narrative analysis.
- The Scope of FBIS and BBC Open Source Media Coverage, 1979–2008.
- FBIS Against the Axis, 1941-1945. (Stephen Mercado's fascinating summary of FBIS' early years.)
- Foreign Broadcast Information Service: Early History 1941-1947. (This is the Roop history that offers extraordinary rich detail of the foundations of FBIS.)
An Insider's Global Perspective
Tony Olcott's book offers an extraordinary and pragmatic insider's look at how narratives shape our understanding from around the world, how they are wielded by states and industries alike and how to think about the information environment.
Martin Gurri offers a similarly powerful and pragmatic look at "truth" and narratives in our modern age:
Thoughts & Analyses
A small collection of my columns over the years on related topics.
- What Viral Scams Can Teach Us About Information Literacy. (9/4/2019).
- We Must Restore Provenance To The Web To Combat Digital Falsehoods. (8/29/2019).
- Deep Fakes And Fake News Exist Because Today We Believe Everything We Read On The Internet. (8/28/2019).
- Reverse Image Search Could Halt Misleading Amazon Fire Photos. (8/23/2019).
- Could Public Reference Librarians Help Us Combat Digital Falsehoods? (8/20/2019).
- A Reminder That 'Fake News' Is An Information Literacy Problem – Not A Technology Problem. (7/7/2019).
- Stopping Disinformation Requires Measuring And Understanding It Not Just Monitoring And Debunking It. (4/27/2019).
- Combatting Fake News Requires Provenance And Information Literacy. (3/16/2019).
- Lies, Damned Lies And Statistics: How Bad Statistics Are Feeding Fake News. (2/2/2017).
- How The 'Rogue' Twitter Accounts Rewrote How We Communicate Science In The Social Era. (1/28/2017).
- How Data And Information Literacy Could End Fake News. (12/11/2016).
- The Inverted Pyramid And How Fake News Weaponized Modern Journalistic Practice. (12/10/2016).
Influence & Persuasion.
- Why Do We Trust Online Images And Video? (8/28/2019).
- The Challenges Of The Digital World Are Not New. (8/24/2019).
- Digital Assistants Could Learn A Lot From Reference Librarians. (8/20/2019).
- From Fact Checkers To Fake News: Social Media’s Dream Of A Voice For All Has Failed. (8/4/2019).
- How Were Social Media Platforms So Unprepared For 'Fake News' And Foreign Influence? (7/9/2019).
- We Already Have Off-The-Shelf Tools To Combat Digital Falsehoods. (7/9/2019).
- The Rise Of 'Fake News' Coincides With Society Outsourcing Its Thinking To Algorithms. (7/7/2019).
- Combatting Digital Falsehoods Through Coverage Maps. (6/22/2019).
- Is Social Media Curating Hate And Scouring The Web For Our Greatest Fears? (5/13/2019).
- The Web That Once Sought To Destroy Community Is Working To Rebuild It. (5/11/2019).
- Data Science Must Embrace Creating Not Just Collecting Data. (5/7/2019).
- Is Digital Age Propaganda Fundamentally Different From That Of Past Eras? (5/6/2019).
- Public Crowdsourcing Vs Researchers In Libraries: Image Searching Lessons From World War II. (5/1/2019).
- Are Smartphones Making "Fake News" And Disinformation Worse? (5/1/2019).
- From Savior To Suppressor: Can Democracy Survive Social Media? (4/27/2019).
- Today's Disinformation Research Could Learn Much From Last Century's Propaganda Research. (4/22/2019).
- Movies And The News Media Were Once The Root Of All Evil – Today It Is Social Media. (4/22/2019).
- Social Media Has Become The Scapegoat For All Society's Ills Just Like TV And Movies Before. (4/22/2019).
- We See Social Media As All-Powerful Because We Can Measure It. (4/22/2019).
- Why Are We Still Using Century-Old Discredited Theories To Explain The Power Of Social Media? (4/21/2019).
- Why Do We Believe What We Read On The Internet? (4/18/2019).
- Misinformation And Restoring Provenance To The Digital Marketplace Of Ideas. (4/14/2019).
- Data Science Has Become About Lending False Credibility To Decisions We've Already Made. (3/24/2019).
- Misinformation And Fake News Are Genuine Threats Not Marketing Buzzwords. (3/17/2019).
- Are Our Intelligence Agencies Getting The Wrong Advice? (3/14/2019).
- Minow's 'Wasteland': How The Web's Problems Are Those Of Television Half A Century Ago. (1/8/2019).
- How Facebook Changed From Utopian To Orwellian. (11/15/2018).
- The Truth Is That We Really Don't Know If There Was Social Media Election Interference. (11/7/2018).
- Why Government And Social Media Platforms Must Cooperate To Fight Misinformation. (9/9/2018).
- From MasterMind To Misuse In Four Years: Who Owns Our Data? (3/21/2018).
- The Problem Isn't Cambridge Analytica: It's Facebook. (3/19/2018).
- How Bad Data Practice Is Leading To Bad Research. (2/19/2018).
- Did Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg Coin The Phrase 'Fake News'? (2/17/2017).
- What If Facebook And Twitter Made You Read An Article Before You Could Share It? (1/15/2017).
- What Happens When Fake News Is Real News? (12/23/2016).
- Should We Fight Fake News By Banning Gullible People From The Internet? (12/17/2016).
- How Academia, Google Scholar And Predatory Publishers Help Feed Academic Fake News. (12/16/2016).
- The Global Perspective On Fake News. (12/11/2016).
- Why Stopping 'Fake' News Is So Hard. (11/30/2016).
- Are Research Ethics Obsolete In The Era Of Big Data? (6/17/2016).
- Should We Limit Social Media Posting To Experts? (7/29/2019).
- In Our Rush To Combat "Fake News" We Are Heading Towards Orwell's 1984. (7/9/2019).
- Could Automated Claim Extraction And Tracking Combat Digital Falsehoods? (6/22/2019).
- The Pelosi Video: Should Social Media Ban Falsehoods Or Does Democracy Require Free Speech? (5/25/2019).
- Twitter Sees Democracy Through The Lens Of 'Fake News' And That's Troubling. (4/28/2019).
- Moving Beyond Monolithic Automated Fact Checking And Context Algorithms. (4/16/2019).
- An Entire Generation Can No Longer Imagine Images Without Hashtags. (4/6/2019).
- The Problem With AI-Powered Content Moderation Is Incentives Not Technology. (3/19/2019).
- Why Can't Facebook Do Better At Fact Checking Photos And Videos? (9/21/2018).
- Could Google Image Search Help Fight Fake News On Social Media? (6/15/2018).
- Facebook's 'Fake News' Backfire: Why Silicon Valley Must Grow Up From Neverland. (1/8/2018).
- The Backfire Effect And Why Facebook's 'Fake News' Warning Gets It All Wrong. (3/23/2017).
- Fighting 'Fake News' Requires Fighting False Claims Not Banning News Outlets. (2/17/2017).
- 'Fake News' And How The Washington Post Rewrote Its Story On Russian Hacking Of The Power Grid. (1/1/2017).
- Facebook's Fake News Detector And The Myth Of Technology As Savior. (12/24/2016).
- The Daily Mail Snopes Story And Fact Checking The Fact Checkers. (12/22/2016).
- The Real Danger Today Is Shallow Fakes And Selective Editing Not Deep Fakes. (8/26/2019).
- Are 'Bodycams For All' The Solution To Deep Fakes? (8/26/2019).
- Will The Kinescope Rise Again In The Era Of Deep Fakes? (7/18/2019).
- 'Deep Fakes' Are Just An Updated War Of The Worlds For The Digital Era. (5/26/2019).
- What Happens When Television News Gets The Deep Fake Treatment? (5/7/2019).
- How Deep Fakes Will Change Political Campaigning. (3/15/2019).
- Why Digital Signatures Won't Prevent Deep Fakes But Will Help Repressive Governments. (9/9/2018).
- Why Social Media Provenance Is More Important Than Ever In An AI-Falsified World. (6/19/2018).
We hope these links are of use to you in exploring a range of perspectives around our modern world.