Derived from the Russian word dezinformatsiya, disinformation is false information that is deliberately spread to influence public opinion or obscure the truth, often in a covert manner. Thrust into the global spotlight following the 2016 US presidential election, disinformation has generally been referred to as “Fake News.” However, that term is increasingly applied in a distorted way for political purposes. This politicization distracts from the real threat disinformation poses to democratic societies. No matter whom they are carried out by, disinformation campaigns are usually targeted at undermining public trust in democratic institution and processes, and the media.
To gain a better understanding of what disinformation is, who disseminates it, how that affects democratic institutions, and how that impact can be reduced, we talked to David Salvo and Bret Schafer, two experts who track disinformation campaigns at the Alliance for Securing Democracy.
The Alliance for Securing Democracy is a bipartisan, transatlantic initiative housed at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. They conduct research and analyses on authoritarian interference, develop policy-oriented strategies to better deter those interference efforts, and raise public about authoritarian interference, including disinformation campaigns.
Listen to the full interview here, or read the transcript below to learn more.
David Salvo (middle) and Bret Schafer (right) from the Alliance for securing Democracy – Creator: Heinrich Böll Foundation North America. This image is licensed under Creative Commons License.