Most of the presidential campaigns are badly unprepared to fight online disinformation, partly because they face a dizzying array of options at prices that can be too costly, Axios emerging tech reporter Kaveh Waddell writes.
- Why it matters: Deepfake techniques can be used against companies, communities and individuals, so this disturbing trend is worthy of your attention — beyond the political theater.
- Another rising risk: Coordinated social media campaigns that make it seem like a fringe view is broadly held.
Experts say these attacks are more likely to come from domestic political adversaries than from the foreign meddlers of 2016.
- But what campaigns should do about the coming chaos is still hazy.
Rushing into the breach is a cadre of consultants — big-name firms and individual operatives alike — who claim to have the secret sauce to detecting brewing disinformation and countering it.
- Some offer basic monitoring software — the kind that fact-checkers use to see what rumors are swirling online.
- Others promise to sniff out disinformation and work with campaigns to develop full communications strategies to counter it.
Where it stands: Campaigns, operating with limited funds, are being inundated with a jumble of products.
- "There are a lot of people offering snake oil, so it's hard for campaigns to make decisions on what to invest in," says Jiore Craig, a vice president at GQR Research, who advises Democratic campaigns on disinformation.
The bottom line: It can be hard to make room for such services in campaign budgets, which historically don't have a line item for battling online mobs.