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#466 Combatting Digital Influence Operations by State Actors


Roberto Barroso Luque (he/him), Data Scientist
Nick Tallant (he/him), Senior Data Engineer

Omelas has created a map of the online information environment to detect digital influence campaigns used to undermine democratic values. This talk is about the rising threat posed by coordinated influence activities online and the effect these have on shaping people’s beliefs and behaviors. We will explore the growing risk of state-sponsored influence campaigns and the role civic actors and organizations like Omelas can play in combating it.

Dissecting both China’s information operations about COVID-19 as well as Russia’s 2020/2021 operations in the US will illustrate common tactics used in digital influence operations. Specifically, the exploitation of social media platforms through which actors create a hospitable information environment to amplify their messages and spread their narratives. The graying of private-public independence among media organizations and governments in authoritarian countries. And, the use of information laundering, a technique employed to grant legitimacy to unbacked claims. We will use data and analysis from Omelas to understand how state-actors combine tactics to conduct geopolitical influence operations across the globe.

Finally, we will give an overview of how Omelas uses human centered data compilation and recent advancements in natural language processing to understand the information environment and track digital operations across the globe. Through this session, we hope to show the growing risk that overt digital operation campaigns pose to democracies around the world and the important role organizations play in reducing such risk.

ASL This event will not have an American Sign Language interpreter.