Influence operations are a complex threat, and the community combating them—academics, social platforms, think tanks, governments—is broad. The goal of the Partnership for Countering Influence Operations (PCIO) is to foster evidence-based policymaking to counter threats in the information environment. Key roadblocks as found in our work include the lack of: transparency reporting to inform what data is available for research purposes; rules guiding how data can be shared with researchers and for what purposes; and an international mechanism for fostering research collaboration at-scale.
Influence operations can have measurable effects on people’s beliefs and behavior, but empirical research does not yet adequately answer the most pressing questions facing policymakers.
Social media and messaging platforms are de facto regulators of online speech and therefore key decisionmakers in combating online influence operations. In recent years, major platforms have begun maintaining public “community standards”—written policies on a wide range of problematic activity like hate speech, violence, and influence operations.
Increasing diversity in the field of countering influence operations is essential to the field’s future. Members of the counter–influence operations community discuss the barriers to greater diversity and recommendations for making progress.
In this growing field, few standards exist for researching influence operations. This panel explores one of the thorniest investigative challenges: who is behind an influence operation?
Join us for a conversation with Maria Ressa, Shireen Mitchell, and Luiza Bandeira, moderated by Alicia Wanless, on the experiences of some of those women leading the charge to understand and counter influence operations. What drew them to the field? What are some of the challenges they face? And how can women be better protected online?
The Digital Services Act will require social media platforms to share data with researchers. But to understand influence operations, the EU must facilitate longer-term research collaboration between industry and academia.