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The Golden Age of Disinformation Has Only Just Begun

The Golden Age of Disinformation Has Only Just Begun

The world has become increasingly interconnected and interdependent, and the opportunities for misinformation have become almost limitless.

Disinformation is all about power, and because of the harmful and far-reaching influence that disinformation exerts, it cannot achieve much without power.

As a tool for shaping public perceptions, disinformation can be used by authoritarian regimes and democracies alike. The dissemination of false information is not a new practice in human history. However, over the last few decades, it has become professionalized and has taken on exorbitant proportions at both national and international levels.The Origins of Disinformation

Disinformation can be understood as misleading information, intentionally produced and deliberately disseminated, to mislead public opinion, harm a target group, or advance political or ideological objectives.

The term disinformation is a translation of the Russian дезинформация (dezinformatsiya). On Jan. 11, 1923, the Politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union decided to create a Department of Disinformation. Its mission was “to mislead real or potential adversaries about the true intentions” of the USSR. From then on, disinformation became a tactic of Soviet political warfare known as “active measures,” a crucial element of Soviet intelligence strategy involving falsification, subversion, and media manipulation.

During the Cold War, from 1945 to 1989, this tactic was used by numerous intelligence agencies. The expression “disinformation of the masses” came into increasing use in the 1960s and became widespread in the 1980s. Former Soviet bloc intelligence officer Ladislav Bittman, the first disinformation professional to defect to the West, observed in this regard that ”The interpretation [of the term] is slightly distorted because public opinion is only one of the potential targets. Many disinformation games are designed only to manipulate the decision-making elite, and receive no publicity.”

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