Countering Disinformation in the United States

Cyberspace Solarium Commission White Paper #6:

Countering Disinformation in the United States

Countering Disinformation in the United States - CSC White Paper #6.pdf

In its March 2020 final report, the U.S. Cyberspace Solarium Commission called on the U.S. government to promote digital literacy, civic education, and public awareness in order to build societal resilience to foreign malign cyber-enabled information operations. As the scourge of disinformation swept across the globe and expanded its scope beyond elections, the Commission decided to conduct a deeper examination of cyber-enabled disinformation and propose steps that the United States could take to begin building greater resilience to disinformation, particularly from foreign actors. While many facets of the Commission’s original strategy of "layered cyber deterrence" can be applied in the context of combating cyber-enabled disinformation, further action is needed from policymakers and lawmakers to enable the United States to better prevent, withstand, and respond to disinformation.

The white paper is the result of research and deliberation by Commission staff and commissioners and specifies seven recommendations to both diminish the prevalence of disinformation in the information ecosystem and build greater individual and societal resilience to disinformation and malign foreign influence:

  • Recommendation 1: Congress should establish a Civics Education Task Force, enable greater access to civics education resources, and raise public awareness about foreign disinformation.

  • Recommendation 2: Congress should ensure material support to non-governmental disinformation researchers

  • Recommendation 3: Congress should fund the Department of Justice to provide grants to nonprofit centers seeking to identify, expose, and explain malign foreign influence campaigns to the American public

  • Recommendation 4: Congress should create a capability within DHS to actively monitor foreign disinformation

  • Recommendation 5: Congress should create a grants program at the Department of Homeland Security designed to equip SLTT governments with the personnel and resources necessary to identify foreign disinformation campaigns and incorporate countermeasures into public communications strategies

  • Recommendation 6: Congress should reform the Foreign Agents Registration Act and direct the Federal Communications Commission to introduce new regulations in order to improve media ownership transparency in the United States

  • Recommendation 7: Congress should grant a federal entity the authority to publish and enforce transparency guidelines for social media platforms