NDI’s Gender, Women and Democracy team, in partnership with Charitable Analytics International (CAI), conducted a study in Brazil and Lebanon to research state-based gendered disinformation campaigns during times of large shocks like pandemics, natural disasters and conflict/violence. In the unstable information space that comes after shocks, opportunities for mis- and disinformation explode. Governments and their networks can take advantage of the chaos to manipulate public sentiment and distort facts and events to push their own political agenda.
Past NDI research has highlighted the specific types of state-based disinformation campaigns that manipulate gender norms to target political women. This study looked specifically at gendered disinformation content published by state officials and their allies to undermine and disempower women in the aftermath of shocks in Brazil and Lebanon during 2020. The purpose of the study was to identify trends in this type of disinformation and ways to counter it so political women can lead in the wake of systemic shocks despite the use of disinformation to undermine their voice and agency.
While the report establishes a sound methodology for identifying state-based actors perpetrating disinformation campaigns, it highlights the need for further research into the deeply entrenched gendered socio-cultural norms that exist in the wider online information space.