Weaponization of Information Threatening Humanitarian Action
Across the globe, the spread of weaponized information (WI) — in the form of online rumors and misinformation, digital hate speech, and other forms of disinformation — is on the rise. These threats expose crisis-affected populations to new forms of risks and vulnerabilities, affect our ability to implement humanitarian programs, and can create threats to the physical safety of aid workers and beneficiaries. Mercy Corps commissioned a study of this problem, working with The Do No Digital Harm Initiative, and is currently working to determine how humanitarian organizations can respond to such threats. In this talk, we will share the results of the research into (a) the nature and breadth of WI-related challenges, (b) their implications for humanitarian and development organizations, (c) a potential response model for humanitarians, and (d) a technical toolset built on Salesforce that can support the detection of WI threats.