Media Menipulation Initiative (MMI)
Efforts to exploit technical, social, economic and institutional configurations of media can catalyze social change, sow dissent, and challenge the stability of social institutions. The Media Manipulation Initiative (MMI) examines how different groups use the participatory culture of the internet to turn the strengths of a free society into vulnerabilities, ultimately threatening expressive freedoms and civil rights. Efforts to exploit technical, social, economic, and institutional configurations of media can catalyze social change, sow dissent, and challenge the stability of social institutions. Broadly, this initiative takes a sociotechnical approach to understanding the social, political, and economic incentives to game information systems, websites, platforms, and search engines—especially in cases where the attackers intend to destabilize democratic, social, and economic institutions. Through empirical research, they identify the unintended consequences of socio-technical systems and track attempts to locate and address threats, with an eye towards increasing organizational capacity across fields, so that action can be taken as problems emerge. From social movements, to political parties, governments, dissidents, and corporations, many groups engage in active efforts to shape media narratives. Media manipulation tactics include: planting and/or amplifying misinformation and disinformation using humans (troll armies, doxxing, and bounties) or digital tools (bots); targeting journalists or public figures for social engineering (psychological manipulation); gaming trending and ranking algorithms, and coordinating action across multiple user accounts to force topics, keywords, or questions into the public conversation. Because the internet is a tool, a tactic, and a territory – integral to challenging the relations of power– studying the new vulnerabilities of networked media is fundamental to the future of democracies. This will be added to Journalism Resources Subject Tracer™. This will be added to Information Quality Resources Subject Tracer™. This will be added to Business Intelligence Resources Subject Tracer™. This will be added to Entrepreneurial Resources Subject Tracer™. This will be added to the tools section of Research Resources Subject Tracer™.