Digital Influence Warfare

COMING SOON (Summer 2020)

Glossary of Terms (PDF) – Coming Soon (December 2019)

Preface (PDF) – Coming Soon (December 2019)

Chapter 1: Introduction (PDF) – Coming Soon (December 2019)

This book brings together three dimensions of our everyday lives:

Digital:  The online ecosystem of information providers and tools, from websites, blogs, discussion forums and targeted e-mail campaigns to social media, video streaming and virtual reality.

Influence: Drawing from decades of research in psychology, marketing, sociology and other disciplines, we have learned the most effective ways an information provider can persuade other people, to shape their beliefs in ways that lead them to embrace one perspective and reject all others.

Warfare: The battlefield is you, and the wars are won by the information and disinformation providers who are able to influence your behavior in ways they find beneficial to their political, social or other goals.

Throughout this book a wide range of specific examples of provided that illustrate the ways in which you are being targeted by digital influencers who are at war against each other, seeking the power to shape your beliefs and behaviors. There is much more to digital influence warfare than terrorist propaganda, “fake news” or Russian efforts to manipulate a democratic election. Chapters examine post-truth narratives, fabricating “alternate facts”, brainwashing and misinformation within the context of various political, scientific, security and societal debates. The final chapters of the book examine how new technical tools, critical thinking and resilience can help thwart these digital influence warfare efforts.

Links to a sample collection of relevant
supporting materials from the first few chapters of DIW:

Dorothy Denning, “Activism, Hacktivism, and Cyberterrorism: the Internet As a Tool for Influencing Foreign Policy.” in Networks and Netwar, (RAND, 2001).

Piret Pernik, Hacking for Influence: Foreign Influence Activities and Cyber-Attacks (February 2018). RKK International Center for Defense and Security, Estonia

Jean-Baptiste J. Vilmer, et al. Information Manipulation: A Challenge for our Democracies. A Report by the Policy Planning Staff (CAPS, Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs) and Institute for Strategic Research (IRSEM, Ministry for the Armed Forces), Republic of France, Paris. August, 2018.

J.M. Berger, A Brief History of Extremism – From Ancient Rome to al Qaeda

Joshua Tucker et al., “Social Media Political Polarization and Political Disinformation: A Review of the Scientific Literature” (Hewlett Foundation, March 2018)

David Byrne, The Echo Chamber (2016)

Samuel C. Woolley and Douglas R. Guilbeault, “Computational Propaganda in the United States of America: Manufacturing Consensus Online,” University of Oxford, Computational Propaganda Research Project, Working Paper No. 2017.5

Zac Rogers, Emily Bienvenue, and Maryanne Kelton, “The New Age of Propaganda: Understanding Influence Operations in the Digital Age,” War on the Rocks (May 1, 2019)

Hannah Murphy, “Inside Facebook’s Information Warfare Team,” Financial Times (July 5, 2019).

Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism

Egor Zakharav, et al. “Few-Shot Adversarial Learning of Realistic Neural Talking Head Models,” Cornell University, Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, (May 20, 2019).

Samantha Cole, “It’s Getting Way Too Easy to Create Fake Videos of People’s Faces,” Motherboard/Tech by Vice (May 23, 2019)

The Institute for Strategic Dialogue, Interim Briefing: Propaganda and Digital Campaigning in the EU Elections (London: ISD, 2019).

Kate Conger and Jack Nicas, “Twitter Bars Alex Jones and Infowars, Citing Harassing Messages,” The New York Times (Sept. 6, 2018).

Abby Noman, “Welcome to the Age of Digital Warfare,” Futurism (December 8, 2017)

Jen Weedon, William Nuland and Alex Stamos. “Information Operations and Facebook” (Facebook, 2017)

Naomi Orekes and Erik M. Conway, Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming (Key Documents)

Karen Douglas, et al. “Why Do People Adopt Conspiracy Theories, How Are They Communicated, and What Are Their Risks” CREST Research, UK (multiple project reports, 2019)

Facebook “Community Standards Enforcement” reports

Mike Isaac and Kevin Roose, “Facebook Bars Alex Jonees, Louis Farrakhan and Others from its Services,” The New York Times (May 2, 2019).

Enrique Dans, “Stopping Fake News Through Technology,” Medium, (Feb. 11, 2017).

Collin Crowell, “Our Approach to Bots & Misinformation” (Twitter, June 14, 2017)

John Arquilla and David Ronfeld, Networks and Netwars (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2001

Cliff Kincaid, “How Putin Uses KGB-style ‘Active Measures’,” Accuracy in Media (April 9, 2014)

Chinese Cyberattack Hits Telegram, App Used by Hong Kong Protesters

Amy Gunia, “Facebook Tightens Live-Stream Rules in Response to the Christchurch Massacre,” Time (May 15, 2019).

Greg Miller and Souad Mekhennet, “Inside the Surreal World of the Islamic State’s Propaganda Machine,” Washington Post (November 20, 2015)

Andy Greenberg, “Alphabet-Owned Jigsaw Bought a Russian Troll Campaign as an Experiment,” Wired (June 12, 2019)

Joseph G. Lehman, “An Introduction to the Overton Window of Political Possibility,” Mackinac Center for Public Policy, April 8, 2010.

Craig Silverman, “This Analysis Shows How Viral Fake Election News Stories Outperformed Real News on Facebook,” BuzzFeed News , November 16, 2016

Matt Apuzzo and Adam Satariano, “Russia is Targeting Europe’s Elections. So are Far-Right Copycats,” New York Times (May 12, 2019).

Robert Faris et al., “Partisanship, Propaganda, and Disinformation: Online Media and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election,” Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University, August 2017

Aja Romano, “How the Christchurch shooter used memes to spread hate,” Vox (March 16, 2019).

ISIS Video shows Jordanian pilot being burnedCBS News (February 3, 2015).

Gregory Waters and Robert Postings. Spiders of the Caliphate: Mapping the Islamic State’s Global Support Network on Facebook (May 2018). Counter Extremism Project.

Dr. Celeste Wallander, “US-Russia Relations After the Mueller Report: “Salami Tactics” and Putin’s Revisionist Dream” (interview March 30, 2019).

Kevin Roose and Kate Conger, “YouTube to Remove Thousands of videos Pushing Extreme Views,” The New York Times (June 5, 2019).

Claire Wardle, “6 Types of Misinformation circulated this election season,” Columbia Journalism Review, November 18, 2016

The (almost) complete history of ‘fake news,’BBC Trending (January 22, 2018).

Samantha Cole, “Americans Don’t Ned Deepfakes to Believe Lies About Nancy Pelosi,” Motherboard/Tech by Vice (May 24, 2019).

Andrea Berger, et al. Op#36: The Shadow Sector: North Korea’s Information Technology Networks. (May 7, 2018). James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Middlebury Institute for International Studies at Monterey.

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About the Author: Dr. James J.F. Forest is a Professor at the UMass Lowell School of Criminology & Justice Studies, and a Visiting Professor at the Tuft University Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy. He is also co-editor of the journal Perspectives on Terrorism and a Senior Fellow at the U.S. Joint Special Operations University.