Detect, Analyze, Expose, Counter, and Contain
The Treadstone 71 Service for Influence Operations
January 12, 2022
Social media and access to information is both an asset and a threat. Psychological operations help the perpetrator change minds, solidify existing beliefs, and divide groups causing chaos. Hate spreads quickly as tribal behaviors take hold with partisan viewpoints supported by false information. People respond with emotion driving their thoughts while critical thinking and analysis are thrown aside. At Treadstone 71, we understand the problem before us.
Our program covers a broad range of topics concerning the uses of media manipulation and online disinformation. First, we help clients assess the content:
- Who is behind the media manipulation.
- What tactics, techniques, and methods do they use.
- Where are they using these tactics.
- What is the intent and motivation, the intended outcome of their campaign.
The assessment may include operational activities driven by a government entity, state-funded propaganda, the use of proxy groups, if and how the content is weaponized, and what cyber tools enable the spread of the content. We also assess the scope of the campaign and the extent to which it is already embedded.
Then we plan a strategy:
- How we craft a program to counter the campaign with a minimum goal of containment. We assess the risk associated with active countering of the campaign, author the plan, and execute to the goals and objectives. This may include:
- Counter campaign development.
- Interface with Social Media companies exposing disinformation.
- Coordinate with authorities.
- Mobilize other sector groups and associates.
- Work with fact-checkers and researchers.
- Raise awareness of the campaign.
- Extended services offered included disinformation campaign alerting tiers of support.
Flexible - Scalable - Focused
Our service is flexible and scalable. we drive the identification of operational content to define the narrative(s) while examining imagery and the feelings created by such. We also identify potential emotions, instincts, reflexes, and passions intended to exploit. Our services may include:
Review content for lies, lander, intermixing of facts, possible conspiracy theories, and contradictory versions of the content across various platforms.
Work to identify targeted social groups backing the narrative. Identify the target(s) of the narrative and likely intent.
Segment content for values and beliefs, language, images and concepts, an image created of the group’s enemy, details of group phobias, and how the content discredits and divides.
Analyze content for themes intended to divide social-cultural groups.
Assess the potential for direct operational contact with internal groups or the preference for false flag influencing via social media accounts.
Figure out what targeted groups already believe in to compare the influence operation narrative, the core values, and belief system of the targeted groups.
Assessing the narrative to determine the embedded content takes time and a trained eye. At Treadstone 71, our years of experience in performing these tasks removes the risk from your organization. Narrative manipulation may 'export 'confirmation bias on one hand while triggering cognitive dissonance on the other. We assess where the content invokes fear based on group dynamics and phobias, creating a plan to contain or remove activities when possible.
Influence operations and disinformation campaigns are significant challenges to all of us. Swift action is needed to tackle the effects of the campaigns. However, countering campaigns requires a sustained effort.