Falsehoods and free press: how to fight the tide of online propaganda

To Inform is to Influence

The 24-hour Operations Room inside GCHQ Ben Birchall – WPA Pool / Getty Images

The free world should never stop questioning, reporting and fighting the rising tide of online propaganda, says David Omand, former director of GCHQ

Friday 9 June 2017

Russian information operations are exercises in perception management, designed to create a new reality.

This creates three kinds of harm to free societies – subversion of our institutions, propaganda and disinformation – that the UK must find ways of managing.

These three elements may overlap, but the political, legal and ethical issues involved in responding to them are distinct – as our remedies should be. Technical fixes are needed, but at the heart of the matter is a strengthening of the roots of liberal education. Not all arguments are equal: explanations have to be consistent with the available facts. The hypothesis with the least evidence against…

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