COVID-19 is not the only virus we need to prevent

Robert Pratten 4 years ago 0 10

Of course it wouldn’t be long before misinformation and disinformation campaigns surfaced around the current pandemic, the Chinese coronavirus, COVID-19. The FT ran this article on March 14 about how China is rehashing the go-to myth about how the¬†virus was cooked up in a foreign laboratory. The article “China goes on the offensive to control global coronavirus narrative” is behind its paywall but try to read it if you can or else try Vice’s article on the same (not behind payway).

Better still, watch this documentary by the New York Times on “Operation Infektion”, which presents Russia’s playbook on how to mount a disinformation campaign – you’ll see how they created stories claiming AIDS was created in a US lab.

The playbook presented is great but it doesn’t explore the techniques of mounting a disinformation campaign on social media. For that you’ll want to head to this article on Participatory Propaganda.

What’s interesting is that all these techniques are well known to the transmedia community – creating shareable media, developing alternate reality games (ARGs) – it’s just that the methods are being applied to politics instead of entertainment and marketing.

It’s quite creepy to look back on our transmedia articles through the lens of active measures and see how we might re-apply what we’ve done to the era of participatory propaganda. In fact anyone working in disinformation might do well to read my book on transmedia storytelling – it’ll tell you all you need to know about connecting to audiences with relevant messages at the right time, in the right place.


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