Combating Information Manipulation: A Playbook for Elections and Beyond

Friday, September 17, 2021

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Combating Information Manipulation: A Playbook for Elections and Beyond


Efforts to undermine election-related information integrity are a growing threat to democracies around the world. Attacks on information integrity - by domestic and foreign actors - threaten to delegitimize elections globally, reduce faith in elected governments, polarize societies, weaken democracies and strengthen authoritarians. In many countries, civil society actors, journalists, governments, election management bodies and other democratic actors are on the frontlines of these battles. Yet, they face significant challenges preparing and responding to these new digital threats as they occur before, during and after elections. If democracies hope to defend free and fair political competition, concerted efforts are needed to identify, respond, and build long-term resilience to election-related information manipulation.

To address these challenges, the International Republican Institute, National Democratic Institute and Stanford Internet Observatory developed the Combating Information Manipulation: A Playbook for Elections and Beyond. Informed by best practices and lessons learned by civil society, governments, academics, and other practitioners around the world, the playbook is intended to help leapfrog the first six months of the electoral preparation process and enable societies to effectively push back against efforts undermining free and fair elections, supporting democratic processes and rights more broadly.

The playbook guides users on how to 1. identify, 2. respond and 3. build resiliency to information manipulation.  These three sections empower users to build their knowledge on mapping the information environment; recognizing common information manipulation narratives; reporting to platforms, governments, or election management bodies; developing public awareness campaigns; and improving digital literacy.  It also includes two case studies from Mexico and Taiwan to illustrate how governments and civil society organizations have responded to information manipulation threats in their countries.  

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