Combating Trust Erosion: Discerning Fake News and Propaganda on Social Media in the Era of AI


This paper introduces a model to combat fake news and propaganda spread on social media, derived from a systematic literature review of 28 articles. It outlines the model based on seven key themes: scepticism, AI detection, fact checking, media literacy, ethical technology use, digital manipulation, and community verification. This comprehensive model aims to bolster individuals’ and communities’ abilities to critically assess information, emphasising its application in research, policy, and education. By advocating a multi-layered strategy, the model seeks to foster a discerning global community equipped to navigate the complexities of discerning fake news and propaganda.

A No Limits Partnership on Propaganda?


The Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China signed a formal agreement to cooperate on the creation and dissemination of a jointly constructed propaganda narrative for a global audience. There is some anecdotal evidence and some very basic research to suggest this cooperation might be happening. However, this study aims to use scientific research methods from the Agenda Setting Theory to prove or disprove this alleged propaganda cooperation. The author assessed a N = 600 sample of articles from English language versions of Russian Sputnik and the Chinese Global Times and People’s Daily. The evidence indicates a low level of propaganda cooperation. Russia and China appear to be pursuing their own strategic goals with propaganda. This finding has important implications for information warriors’ and strategic communication professionals’ task and counterpropaganda.

Covert Action as Hybrid Warfare—Clarifying the Semantics


In the era of labels, distinguishing between constructs is becoming increasingly difficult. Covert action and hybrid warfare are two constructs suffering from this predicament. The question is whether covert action is hybrid warfare, vis-a-versa, or whether one construct eclipsed the other. In an era where covert action has become problematic from an international relations perspective, is this predicament being resolved by labelling covert action as hybrid warfare? This article explores the semantics and nuances of these two constructs to clarify their relative utility. The paper argues that covert action is subordinate to hybrid warfare. Covert action forms part of a synchronized line of effort within a broader hybrid warfare campaign, when planned effectively against a target and target audience(s).

The Space of Influence: Developing a New Method to Conceptualise Foreign Information Manipulation and Interference on Social Media


Foreign information manipulation and interference (FIMI) on social media is a fast- evolving threat to democracies. However, there is a growing need to systematically conceptualise the phenomenon. General Morphological Analysis seeks to explore the totalities of a complex problem, but is restricted by simplification. Using and modifying the method expands the morphological space. This expansion and relying on statistical calculation expose internal interdependencies of the phenomenon. Operation design is largely dependent on five parameters: ‘spread strategy’, ‘information channelling’, ‘market targeting’, ‘presented source’, and ‘operational openness’. These parameters are more likely to affect other parameters and thereby define significant aspects of a FIMI operation.

Using Junk News to Build an Agenda for Violence: Russian Propaganda Targeting American Right-Wing Extremists


This article examines a known Russian propaganda website, News Room for American and European Based Citizens (NAEBC), run by the Internet Research Agency (IRA), that delivers propaganda through junk news. Using agenda-building theory, it seeks to determine if it can uncover the propagandists’ goals and motivations in order to examine its implications for information warfare. It finds that the IRA is using its extensive resources to agitate right-wing political extremists into violence. This calls into question whether the provocation of a civil war within the United States is a strategic information warfare goal of the Russian government. 

Employing Junk News to Drive a Propaganda Narrative


This study examines the testable question of whether junk news in the service of propaganda can form coherent narrative structure that can be analyzed and countered. The analysis was conducted using a known junk news site, USA Really, which is sponsored by the Russian Government, and which targets American citizens. Leveraging the Narrative Paradigm theory and ethnographic content analysis are the methods of research; an analysis of (N =150) were qualitatively analyzed. An unexpected finding that USA Really was constructing a conspiracy narrative targeting far right-wing extremists emerged. The study also identified a new type of narrative, not accounted for in narrative paradigm theory, that was meant to cause dissension rather than to serve as a guide for proper conduct.

Propaganda or Not: Examining the Claims of Extensive Russian Information Operations within the United States


This paper scientifically examines the claims of an extensive Russian propaganda targeting the population of the United States made by an organization called Prop or Not. Using the Agenda Setting Theory, it examined the intermedia agenda setting effects between the Russian State Media outlet Sputnik and four weblogs listed by Prop or Not. The results of the study found a strong positive correlation between Sputnik and Zero Hedge, New Cold War, Global Research, and the Daily Sheeple in terms of very favorable coverage of Russia and its allies. A positive but weaker correlation was found between these media sources and their coverage of the United States and its allies.

Enlisting Propaganda for Agenda Building: The Case of the Global Times


This article uses agenda building theory to examine how the People’s Republic of China is using propaganda in the form of news to build an agenda within global news media as part of their Three Warfares Strategy. This qualitative content analysis of the English language version of the Global Times revealed that the PRC is building an offensive news agenda to directly challenge the credibility and legitimacy of its rivals. It is obsessively preoccupied by receiving blame for COVID-19-related mistakes and threats of economic decoupling.

The Taliban’s Information War: The Tactical Use of Frames


The Taliban are engaged in strategic information warfare on multiple fronts. This study examines how the Taliban use frames to transmit ideology for Information Operations. Frames are used tactically in information warfare because they are designed to generate responses via emotionally laden communication defined as propaganda. This study is unique because it analyses data derived from digital domains and from physical sources in Kabul. A Taliban Communication Typology has been culled from the 66 individual Taliban frames identified in this research. Analysis, via ontological coding, indicates that the Taliban communicate along five core messages that are framed to outline problems and solutions.

A Cultural Exploration of Social Media Manipulators


Internet social media sites enable the rapid and widespread production and dissemi- nation of propaganda. Although propaganda has a long history in warfare, the spreading of propaganda via social media is markedly different from past distribution methods. The authors investigated the relationships between state-affiliated actors who use social media to produce and distribute propaganda and their national cultural values.

An Analysis of the Social-Media Technology, Tactics, and Narratives Used to Control Perception in the Propaganda War over Ukraine


Framed by the historic 2013-2015 conflict in Ukraine—widely described by Western media as a ‘Cold-War’-style clash between the Russian Federation and the United States/NATO alliance—this qualitative case study examines how social media was used as a platform for propaganda warfare waged by clandestine bloggers and special operations commandos (known as trolls) deployed worldwide by state and non-state actors, and digitally linked and informed by data-mining, to manipulate public perceptions of the events by controlling an element of rhetoric known as narratives.

Information Warfare, Globalism, and the Curious Case of Music


The concept of globalism can be traced back thousands of years, most remarkably, to ancient Babylonia. Information warfare has enabled this enchanting concept to survive into the present Age.

A Critique of Coalition Propaganda Before the Second Gulf War


This paper investigates and critiques the propaganda emanating from the main players in the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ (USA, UK, and Australia) in the three months before the invasion of Iraq. It outlines the US-led information campaign and analyses its successes and failures.

The Law and Cyber Terrorism


The paper investigates the use of the Internet. by terrorist and dissident groups for publicity, propaganda, and fund raising. It examines the new anti-terrorism legislation passed in the last few years (especially the UK Terrorism Act), and its impact in the Internet presence of proscribed groups.

Perception Management in the Art of War. A Review of Finnish War Propaganda and Present-Day Information Warfare


Perception management is integral to the art of war. Skillful use of information warfare, psychological operations and propaganda is problematic, however. Based on Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s theory of perception and the practical examples presented in this article – the Finnish Winter War and the war on terrorism – it can be held that perception and its interpretation can never be certain. If perceptions are manufactured, they can become counter-productive. The way in which perceptions arise is characterized by dynamism. According to Mzerleau-Ponty, there is always a middle ground between us and the enemy, a field that distorts and limits our view of the enemy. Therefore, in this article we propose that we can direct propaganda only towards ourselves.

Strategic Communications and the Relationship Between Governmental ‘Information’ Activities in the Post 9/11 World


For most people, the word ‘propaganda’ conjures up all sorts of negative connotations – from brainwashing to dirty tricks to outright lying.  Theoretically, this is misguided.  However, although it is now probably too late in the day to attempt to strip away the negative connotations in the popular mind of this ‘P word’, nonetheless there is a need to first understand what propaganda actually is conceptually, and to understand how the word itself has acquired such a pejorative meaning, before examining what its contemporary alternative word descriptions (euphemisms) actually involve and mean.

Information Operations from an Asian Perspective: A Comparative Analysis


This article is a comparative study of the practice of state-sponsored influence activities in its various forms (namely propaganda, public diplomacy, psychological operations, public affairs, cyber warfare, electronic warfare and so on) in selected Asian countries (China, Taiwan, Thailand and Japan). It highlights the state of Asian development, differences in concepts, organization and application as compared to the Western models that today dominate discussions on information operations and influence activity.  By doing so, it provides alternative ways of approaching Information Operations (IO) that might contribute to the generation of challenges and solutions facing today’s policy makers. Finally, it will serve to broaden the body of knowledge in influence activities to include both Eastern and Western viewpoints. 

Asymmetrical Adversarialism in National Defense Policy, The Marketplace and Personal Privacy


I once calculated, on the back of a napkin thoroughly drenched in Outback steak juice, that it takes a whole lot of paper to wage a war. I mean, a terrific amount of paper: something like 3,412.7 pieces of papers for every combatant and support soldier in the chain of command. If the war or Operation Other Than War (OOW) or a peace keeping mission carries on for more than six weeks, the paperwork jungle doubles and as the war continues into months, the paperwork increases, but at a lesser rate of bureaucratic indulgence

All of this war-fighting paper means there has to be a whole lot of paper pushers to push the paper needed to fight the war. To support the paper pushers, you have to have people to buy the paper and the pens at the right price; a price that the government would be proud to pay as long as they’re fighting a war. And of course, you have to have bean counters to count how much paper the paper pushers are pushing which is what really makes the whole war business worth doing in the first place. You see, war is a lot about paper.

Becoming the Enemy…and How Not To: Strategic Communications and the Challenges of the War on Terror


This opinion piece argues that there are lessons to be learned from past applications of Psychological Operations and Information Operations for the current practice of Strategic Communications.  The Information War on Terror is going so badly that something must be done.  Already longer than World War Two, western strategic communication directed towards the Arab and Muslim world has failed because the military, while being quite good at tactical operational propaganda, is not by itself equipped to work at the strategic or political level.  This is because western militaries regard information as a support tool.  For Al Qaida and the Taliban it is the main weapon.

The Electronic Intifada: The Palestinian Online Resistance in the 2nd Intifada


This paper examines the utility of the Internet in the war of ideas in the Al-Aqsa Intifada in the period from 2000-2008. It tests the hypothesis that the internet is a ‘force-multiplier’ and ‘equalizer’ for the Palestinians to counter a more militarily superior State of Israel. The prognosis offered in this paper is that the empowering characteristics of the internet have transformed the Palestinian struggle into ‘asymmetric warfare’ akin to Mao’s ‘People’s War’ fought on cyberspace. Empirical findings largely confirmed the hypothesis, but with reservations about the ‘equalizer’ effect. The effectiveness of the Palestinian’s online resistance is attributable to their assimilation into the NGO/IO community and achieving traction with the news media. However, decades of Israeli influence on US media and audiences continue to present a significant barrier. 

Journal of Information Warfare

The definitive publication for the best and latest research and analysis on information warfare, information operations, and cyber crime. Available in traditional hard copy or online.















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The definitive publication for the best and latest research and analysis on information warfare, information operations, and cyber crime. Available in traditional hard copy or online.


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