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How is it that fringe stories and counterfeit narratives get traction, enter mainstream media, and are accepted as fact? Intelligence expert Samantha Korta (Masters 1605/1606 aka 1611) studied information laundering to discover how propagandists take advantage of the interconnectedness of the Internet as well as online technologies such as computational propaganda, echo chambers, and advertising to cheat the internet ecosystem and rapidly spread influential but illegitimate content to undermine the credibility and authority of legitimate sources. These intentional and harmful falsehoods spread in the virtual world can influence public discourse and manifest physically inciting violence, creating division, eroding trust, facilitating foreign influence during democratic elections, and even contributing to the rise in deadly but preventable diseases.
Samantha Korta, “Fake News, Conspiracy Theories, and Lies: An Information Laundering Model for Homeland Security” (master’s thesis, cohort 1605/1606, Naval Postgraduate School, 2018).
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