Fake News, Conspiracy Theories, and Lies: An Information Laundering Model for Homeland Security
Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States
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The purpose of this research, broadly speaking, is to expose the threat that fake news poses to our national security. This thesis answers the question Can the information laundering model, or a modified version of it, be used to explain how the internet is exploited to spread fake news, and the resulting threat to the United States I assert that a well-crafted narrative, whether true or false, can be spread rapidly online due to the accessibility and interconnectedness of the internet ecosystem. I then articulate how these narratives can be further accelerated and disseminated when propagandists take advantage of existing processes that improve the customization, ease of access, and availability of information online. I do this by modifying the information laundering model, and then using the new model to examine the interconnectedness of search engines, blogs, social networking platforms, and mediaacademic outlets, and how these connections can be exploited to launder false or purposefully misleading information into public discourse. Finally, I demonstrate how this process allows adversarial nations, criminals, and malicious actors to increase public discord, undermine democracy, and threaten Americans physical and cognitive security.
- Information Science
- Civil Defense