Disinformation campaigns used to consist of trolls and bots orchestrated and manipulated to produce a desired result. Increasingly, though, these campaigns are able to find willing human participants to amplify their messages and even generate new ones on their own.
The big picture: It’s as if they’re switching from employees to volunteers — and from participants who are in on the game to those who actually believe the disinformational payload they’re delivering.
Why it matters: Understanding this changing nature is critical to preparing for the next generation of information threats, including those facing the 2020 presidential campaign.
Speaking at Stanford University Tuesday, researcher Kate Starbird — a University of Washington professor who runs a lab that studies mass participation — traced the change across the stories of three different campaigns.