Shujaat Mirza (New York University), Labeeba Begum (New York University Abu Dhabi), Liang Niu (New York University), Sarah Pardo (New York University Abu Dhabi), Azza Abouzied (New York University Abu Dhabi), Paolo Papotti (EURECOM), Christina Pöpper (New York University Abu Dhabi)

Disinformation can be used to sway public opinion toward a certain political or economic direction, adversely impact public health, and mobilize groups to engage in violent disobedience. A major challenge in mitigation is scarcity: disinformation is widespread but its mitigators are few. In this work, we interview fact-checkers, journalists, trust and safety specialists, researchers, and analysts who work in different organizations tackling problematic information across the world. From this interview study, we develop an understanding of the reality of combating disinformation across domains, and we use our findings to derive a cybersecurity-inspired framework to characterize the threat of disinformation. While related work has developed similar frameworks for conducting analyses and assessment, our work is distinct in providing the means to thoroughly consider the attacker side, their tactics and approaches. We demonstrate the applicability of our framework on several examples of recent disinformation campaigns.

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