Understanding online information operations: Development of an influence network for scientific inquiry testing environment (INSITE)

by | Mar 14, 2022

Influence operations that promote propaganda, disinformation, and the propagation of social hysteria represent an existential threat to the United States. Effective countermeasures must be developed that can respond in near real-time and anticipate future adversarial actions. One of the most significant hurdles to developing effective countermeasures is the lack of a complex and dynamic testing environment that provides adequate assessment of algorithms and automated detection tools. Through the integration of social sciences with applied mathematics, dynamic, multi-factorial phenomena such as social influence and response behavior within complex social systems may be investigated with scientific rigor. The proposed capability will fulfill a critical need for developing a social-centric model to understand and assess complex influence factors and design of social engineering counter-measures that promote national security interests. To develop such a model, the research community also needs an accessible social media platform that is controlled by researchers, for researchers, and can be used to test new ideas in a realistic setting. A researcher-controlled platform will not only provide unprecedented access to data but will also allow researchers to test mitigation intervention strategies that would be impossible to implement in existing social media platforms.

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