The healthy functioning of democracies depends on the quality of the information that frames debate within them. But digitalisation, the rise of social media and increasingly sophisticated forms of artificial intelligence are delivering new opportunities to poison the well of public discourse. Unfortunately, as a Guardian investigation this week illustrates, exploiting these is a 21st-century growth industry.
Alongside state-sponsored actors, increasing numbers of private firms are profiting from the dissemination of disinformation on behalf of political and corporate clients. Undercover research, in conjunction with 30 other media organisations, has exposed the inner workings of one such outfit – an Israeli black ops unit which combines the use of automated disinformation on social media with hacking and the seeding of fabricated stories in mainstream news outlets. The resulting revelations offer the deepest, most detailed insight yet into evolving forms of digital malpractice.
Greenpeace? Friends of the Earth? ASH?
Which feeder of lies and disinformation into the public discourse is identified as being in the island under the volcano bunker?