TRACKING AND REFUTING DISINFORMATION IN GEORGIA

Project: Research project

Description

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

To counter efforts by foreign entities to use disinformation and propaganda to influence the policies and social and political stability of the United States and United States allies and partner nations, Arizona State Universitys (ASU) McCain Institute for International Leadership has partnered with ASUs advanced digital data mining program Looking Glass, the Tbilisi-based Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC), and Georgias largest private TV station Rustavi 2 (R2) to implement a project to identify, analyze, and refute Russian disinformation in Georgia nationally and internationally.

Georgia, a singular U.S. ally in a region where such a partner is both critical and rare, has seen a rapid proliferation of fake news, propaganda and disinformation; largely behind this effort is Russia, as it seeks to sour public sentiments toward the United States, Europe and democracy. Thus, there is a clear and urgent need in Georgia to map the digital landscape of disinformation and how it is spread; to refute existing falsehoods; and to foster a public discourse by Georgians about fake news.

Together, our team provides the combination of subject matter expertise, country and regional experience, technical skills to ensure the success of the project. The digital capacity contributed by Looking Glass, led by Dr. Hasan Davulcu, a leading authority on social media mining, provides a truly one-on-a-kind technology to distill vast amounts of data from Facebook, blogs, news sites and other social media across languages and cultural differences into clear trends and data points, while also pinpointing the accounts and individuals behind the spread of disinformation. Led by Ambassador Shota Gvineria, former Deputy Secretary for Georgias National Security Council, EPRC is one of Georgias leading think tanks with an earned reputation for its sharp policy analysis and non-partisan work; EPRC will analyze and curate data drawn from Looking Glass as well as fact-check stories suspected to be false. To engage Georgians in refuting disinformation, Rustavi 2, the most popular and successful broadcasting company in Georgia reaching 85% of the population, will host experts from EPRC to provide analysis and commentary on disinformation on their weekly news programs. Rustavi 2 will also develop public service announcements, which will aim at increasing awareness of viewers about fraudulent informational interventions, as well as provide useful tips in informational hygiene.

Finally, the McCain Institute led by Fron Nahzi, Senior Director of Global Development who previously served as Chief of Party for USAIDs largest advocacy project in Georgia, has a verifiable record of building partnerships and implementing successful projects with similar complexity and magnitude, and would offer a platform in Washington, D.C. to educate policymakers, think tank experts and non-profit leaders on the challenges Georgia faces due to Russian disinformation. The McCain Institute also has a history of impact in Georgia, having partnered with EPRC for several years to host the annual Tbilisi International Conference, one of the most prominent gatherings of international thought-leaders in the region.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date9/5/189/4/19

Funding

  • US Department of State (DOS): $261,805.00

Fingerprint

disinformation
Economic Policy
news
think tank
propaganda
social media
allies
expert
leader
social stability
political stability
diplomat
facebook
hygiene
national security
broadcasting
weblog
cultural difference
reputation
proliferation