MisDisMal-Information #1

This is newsletter is published at techpolicy.substack.com

Edition #1

Hello World!

This is Edition 1 of MisDisMal-Information (read as mis-dismal). The other name I had in mind was TWIDL (This Week’s Information Disorder Letter). It was more apt, because many of us twiddle our thumbs when we see information disorder propagating before our very eyes, but I settled on MisDisMal-Information because I get to say dismal (read as 2020).

OK, So what is this, exactly?

The point of this newsletter is to track information disorder mainly from an Indian perspective. It will also look at some interesting global campaigns and new research. There is no shortage of… er… information, so there will be plenty to report on.

I’ve said before that Information Disorder is the malaise of our times. That has been made even more apparent with all information entrepreneurship we’re witnessing related to COVID-19. At least, no one is wondering whether fact-checking is relevant any more.

What this is not?

A fact-check newsletter. This is solo effort, and there are organisations like Altnews, Boomlive who already do some great work. Support them, please.

I will probably include some fact-checks that seemed important to me.


All that is great, but what is information disorder?

Good, let’s get down to business. Very simply put, “Information Disorder” (for those who may not know) is the collective term to refer to Misinformation, Disinformation and Malinformation. I won’t describe these in detail, but I would recommend reading FirstDraftNews’ resources on it.

I’ll leave you with a diagram as a teaser

ABCs of Information Disorder

Hey, hang on. Didn’t we just cover this?

Oh, I see how this can be confusing. Yes, we did. Although, right now, I am referring to Camille Francois’ Disinformation ABC Framework .

As per the paper

This concise “ABC” framework doesn’t aim to propose one definition or framework to rule them all, but rather seeks to lay out three key vectors characteristic of viral deception. One of my favourite things about the paper was the word-play around the old Internet adage “On the internet, no one knows you’re a dog”.

A – Malicious Actor

 “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a ~~dog~~ Russian military operative.” 

B – Deceptive Behaviour

“On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a ~~dog~~ bot army.” 

C – Harmful Content

“On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a ~~dog~~ deepfake.”