New NED Working Paper: Why Is There a Demand for Disinformation and Why Is It Growing


The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) from the United States released a new working paper entitled “Demand for Deceit: How the Way We Think Drives Disinformation,” authored by Samuel Woolley and Katie Joseff.

The paper focuses on the demand for disinformation and raises the questionс of why there are such news consumers who are constantly seeking and trusting disinformation sources while rejecting other information sources.

What is of interest to the Republic of North Macedonia is the chapter describing the misinformed milieu in the country оn the eve of the name referendum on the 30 September 2018. The paper mentions the  #Boycott initiatives, the financial impact of the Russian billionaire from Thessaloniki, Ivan Savvidis, the use of the bots in the public debate over the referendum, the proclamation of NATO and the western allies as “fascists” by opponents of the referendum, etc.

The authors believe that understanding the factors that influence the demand for disinformation is essential for creating effective solutions and that all those who combat against the spread of disinformation should develop innovative adaptations to the contemporary, disinformation-rich information landscape.

In their view, what should be particularly understood is the fact that disinformation is a global phenomenon in which young democracies (such as Macedonia) are especially vulnerable, which in turn requires further attention and research on these topics.

Fact-checking initiatives, according to the authors, should bear in mind the psychology of their audiences, as well as the fact that news consumers who are invested in a particular political narrative may be more likely to reject corrective information and rationalize their preexisting beliefs. The same challenge arises when it comes to spreading media literacy.

The paper pays special attention to technologies that are expected to emerge and further complicate the fight against disinformation and the misuse of personal data such as widespread highly realistic photo, audio and video manipulations, misuse of virtual and augmented reality, biometric-powered mass surveillance and others.




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This article was created within the framework of the Project to increase the accountability of the politicians and political parties Truthmeter implemented by Metamorphosis. The article is made possible by the generous support of the US non-profit foundation National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The content is the responsibility of its author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Metamorphosis, the National Endowment for Democracy or their partners.

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