Narrative, disinformation and strategic influence
- Fusion of humanities, social science and computer science theories, methods and tools to better analyze, share and dissect relevant data
- University hub for researchers interested in related topic areas, with 20 affiliated faculty in our Disinformation Working Group
- Expertise in narrative analysis applicable strategic communication and information operations contexts
- Proven, scalable method of detecting adversarial framing in information environment and discerning an influence signal, through collaboration with Center for Strategic Communication
- Experience working with international collaborators
- Semantic information defender
- Detecting and tracking adversarial framing
- Analyzing disinformation and propaganda tactics
- Fusing Narrative and Social Cyber Forensics to Understand Covert Influence
Semantic information defender
Collaborating with a large, interdisciplinary team composed of academic and commercial research organizations, GSI contributes to “Semantic Information Defender," a project under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s SEMAFOR (Semantic Forensics) program. The project will develop a system that detects, characterizes and attributes misinformation and disinformation – whether image, video, audio or text. ASU provides content and narrative analysis, media industry expertise, text detection and characterization methods, and a large dataset of known disinformation and manipulated media objects.
Detecting and tracking adversarial framing
A pilot project with Lockheed Martin ATL created an information operations detection technique based on the principle of adversarial framing – when parties hostile to U.S. interests frame events in the media to justify support for future actions. This research helps planners and decision-makers identify trends in real time that indicate changes in information operations strategy, potentially indicating imminent actions. A follow-on project funded by the Department of Defense expands techniques developed in the pilot project to additional countries; incorporates blog data into the framing analysis alongside known propaganda outlets; studies the transmediation of these frames to non-Russian, non-propaganda sources; and seeks to develop the ability to automatically detect adversarial framing as it occurs.
Analyzing disinformation and propaganda tactics
A recently completed GSI project sponsored by the U.S. State Department studied ideological techniques (narrative and framing) and operational procedures (mechanisms of amplification) of disinformation and propaganda in Latvia, Sweden and the United Kingdom, providing policymakers with a fuller understanding of the adversarial communication landscape. The team identified adversarial framing around contentious issues, trained a machine classifier to detect such framing at scale, revealed shifts in messaging strategies, and analyzed anti-democracy narratives. The team also developed a new feature-driven approach to identify “Pathogenic Social Media” — malicious actors exhibiting inauthentic behavior amplifying disinformation frames and topics.
Fusing Narrative and Social Cyber Forensics to Understand Covert Influence
With support from the DOD’s Minerva Initiative, NDSI has assembled an international team of researchers to develop new methods of identifying and understanding covert, online influence. The effort will fuse analysis of how narratives circulating in the information environments of Indonesia and the Philippines align with regional hegemonic interests (such as China) with social cyber forensic analysis to track activity online and the dissemination of ideas and elements of these narratives, and to observe virtual proxies of political action. Our research will provide a comparative study of prominent issues subject to influence; a mapping of the information environment and the flows of the online influence; and, an understanding of how campaigns weave national, local, and personal concerns for influential effect. This research will help fill the critical capability and knowledge gap the United States faces with regard to competitor nation-states’ engagement in “informationized” warfare.