Helsinki will host a new centre focused on curbing the growing threat of hybrid warfare according to recent reports. Disinformation and fake news is considered “hybrid warfare” in this context.
The proposed annual budget is reportedly estimated at two million euros.
I think… they’re gonna need a bigger boat.
Fighting against hybrid warfare disinformation will be extremely challenging in today’s media landscape. Disinformation for profit, a.k.a. content farming, as well as good old fashioned misinformation, coupled with the average individual’s inability to make any real critical distinctions, provides a huge amount of cover for politically motivated disinformation.
And how bad is the average individual’s ability to tell real news from fake? Stanford researchers recently evaluated students’ ability and described the results as…”bleak”.
It’s a surprise to me that researchers would be shocked but the results of their study – but then, I spent a many, many months studying cost-per-action social media spam on Facebook years ago. Fraudulent links using supposedly scandalous video bait of one sort or another spread rapidly, and millions upon millions of people clicked the links. Repeatedly. Why would scandalous “news” be any different?
I’m never against a good education. But it’s not going to fix the problem.
As long as media continues to hunt for “viral content” in its increasingly desperate search for advertising revenues – disinformation and misinformation will continue to exist and flourish. And as long as it does, there will be able ample enough cover to provide political actors plausible deniability.
The new Helsinki joint centre has its work cut out for it.