The problem

Disinformation campaigns are more than fake news. They’re coordinated, targeted efforts to shape perceptions.

How are they made?

Disinformation campaigns are professional and coordinated—not unlike marketing campaigns. And just like marketing campaigns, they’re designed to achieve specific results.


Campaigns use a range of tactics to achieve campaign goals.

  • Brigading

    A coordinated effort by one online group to manipulate another—for example, through mass commenting on a certain message.

  • Sock Puppets

    Online accounts run by a person masquerading as someone else.

  • Botnets

    Networks of bots, or accounts that are algorithmically programmed to post without continued human intervention.

  • Manipulate Data Voids

    Tagging content to strategically appear in conversations, trends, or search results when information on a topic is sparse or missing.

  • Hacking

    Gaining unauthorized access to data in a system, or using digital attacks to take down websites.

  • Constructive Messaging

    Messages either to encourage action (e.g. “If you love the President, RT this!”) or create a fake sense of consensus, sometimes known as a Potemkin Village (e.g. “The #1 trending hashtag can’t be wrong.”)

  • Destructive Messaging

    Negative messages meant to harass, discredit, suppress, dissuade, or disparage targets.

  • Confusing Messaging

    Messages meant to cause confusion through infiltration, insincerity, or overwhelming amounts of information.


Like all marketing efforts, disinformation campaigns intend to drive reach, engagement, and revenue.

  • How important is consistent engagement vs. single-story impact?

  • What is the goal of fake news? What are the dangers?

Next: The problem
Next: Learn the parts of a disinformation campaign
Next: Objectives
Next: Tactics
Next: Channels
Next: Outcomes
Next: More Articles
Next: Countermeasures
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