Weaponised information presents a considerable security threat and therefore deserves consideration. However, the field is blurred by its interdisciplinary nature which crosses literatures such as public diplomacy, covert action, hybrid warfare and sharp power. At the same time, it falls between concepts such as strategic narratives, propaganda, disrupted information, information warfare – and the much conflated “disinformation”. It also goes to the heart of what is considered to be “news” – rather than propaganda or disinformation.
This discussion considers different aspects of what Wardle and Derakhshan categorise as “disordered information” (2017) and the uses to which it can be put including in the foreign policy arena. It will assess how disordered information can be produced including cyber-activity such as hacking and spyware, lawfare, including so-called SLAPP prosecutions, and by leveraging existing societal schisms such as gender, race, and sexuality. It will also look at how the information is disseminated – through ostensibly liberal news outlets - and why it is considered an effective political tool to manage reputations and be a foreign policy tool per se.
Professor Ben O’Loughlin (Director of the New Political Communications Unit, Royal Holloway)
Dr Natalie Martin (School of Politics and IR, University of Nottingham)
Coordinator: Dr Marianna Charountaki (Senior Lecturer, University of Lincoln)
Registration will close two hours before the event begins.