What the CEPPS Countering Disinformation Guide Can Do for You!

By Kaleigh Schwalbe | July 01, 2021

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Countering Disinformation: A guide to promoting information integrity
The CEPPS Countering Disinformation Guide

The Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening (CEPPS) launched theCountering Disinformation Guidethis April as a one-stop-shop for practitioners and civil society organizations on what is working, and what is not working, in the information space.  The guide was created with funding from USAID in partnership with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), the International Republican Institute (IRI), and the National Democratic Institute (NDI).  It is organized into nine thematic sections examining the roles of stakeholder groups, responses to disinformation, and crosscutting issues and approaches to campaigns targeting women and marginalized groups.  To keep pace with the shifting information landscape, the guide is intended to be a living resource that is frequently updated based on the current events and policy changes.

Also included in the guide is an interventions database of organizations, projects, and donors working to counter disinformation.  The database currently has over three hundred entries, and is continuously growing to include new interventions.  It is searchable by program type, region, funder, and organization.  One of the interventions highlighted in the database is Pegabot, a tool developed by the Institute of Technology and Society of Rio de Janeiro (ITS).  Pegabot can analyze the probability of a social media account being a human or a bot.  A bot is a term for social media accounts that are operated by computer programs for generating posts, and are frequently used to create and spread disinformation.1  By using Pegabot to “peg” or identify a bot, users can potentially confirm their suspicions about a false account or profile and then report it to the platform. It works best for Portuguese accounts, which it has been tailored for, and in the past year NDI supported ITS in developing a Spanish language version, Atrapabot.

So how can you use the CEPPS Countering Disinformation Guide?  First, who are you?  Are you a practitioner, civil society leader, government elections official, or a curious individual?  The guide has different sections targeting individuals based on their role in the information  ecosystem and democratic process.  Start with reviewing the introduction to the guide, then jump to the section that best fits your role.  Next, what are some responses you have tried or are interested in trying?  The guide includes a breakdown of different responses that individuals and organizations have tried and tested.  Some have worked better than others, and the guide offers an opportunity to review and learn from what others have already implemented.  What region of the world are you from?  Scroll over to the interventions database to review what others in your region are working on.  Are there areas of overlap between your work and theirs?  The guide is meant to help create connections and build a growing network of practitioners working to counter disinformation.  Be sure to also submit your own intervention to the database so others can learn from your work.

Still have questions?  Please join us on July 7th at 10am EDT for an NDI DemTech Summer Series presentation on the guide, with guest speaker Debora Albu from ITS, who will demonstrate how to use Pegabot and share updates on the legal and regulatory frameworks addressing these issues in Brazil.  Or you can always email us at [email protected].

[1] https://medium.com/1st-draft/information-disorder-part-1-the-essential-glossary-19953c544fe3