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technology

Countering Influence Operations: An Enigma?

Facebook appears to be doing something here but how much beyond token interdiction can actually be done?

Context: Facebook: Recommended Principles for Regulation or Legislation to Combat Influence Operations

It is a fascinating issue. I suggest that the complexity of the problem far outstrips these assertions of interdiction and oversight. We have seen pretty much the same thing happen in cyber security. Where a property or quality, if not the actual content, of information is access-denied, protected, obscured or obfuscated (up to and including encryption) – this has the effect of increasing the perceived, if not actual, value of the information – and thus necessarily also accelerates and amplifies the incentives to acquire or access it. It is a corollary of the acquisition and hyper-inflation of value in any contraband market.

Whether we speak of criminal actors, organisations or influence operations conducted by nation states, we find a curious symmetry to the hyper-inflating value of denied information or contraband. Where the influence itself is the contraband, the incentives to proliferate strategies and automated or artificially intelligent assertions that flow around controls acquire more value in direct proportion to the extent of the controls applied against them.

Deflating value works in other markets but there seems to be no such pressure valves in this particular self-gravitating system. It is a true Gordian Knot.

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