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The Framework to Counter Foreign State Information Manipulation

The Framework to Counter Foreign State Information Manipulation
The Framework to Counter Foreign State Information Manipulation

Foreign information manipulation and interference is a national security threat to the United States as well as to its allies and partners. Today, the U.S. Department of State is announcing an important new tool for addressing this problem: The Framework to Counter Foreign State Information Manipulation.

This Framework seeks to develop a common understanding of this threat and establish a common set of action areas from which the United States, with its allies and partners, can develop coordinated responses to foreign information manipulation and protect free and open societies.

Authoritarian governments use information manipulation to shred the fabric of free and democratic societies. They manipulate social discourse, skew national and international debates on subjects of critical importance, and undermine democratic institutions. This transnational threat requires a coordinated international response.

The Framework serves as a tool for diplomatic engagement on the threat of foreign information manipulation. It will deepen cooperation between like-minded partners, establish a common operating picture, and support the development of resilient, fact-based information ecosystems. The Framework is based on five Key Action Areas: (1) national strategies and policies; (2) governance structures and institutions; (3) human and technical capacity; (4) civil society, independent media, and academia; and (5) multilateral engagement.

National Strategies and Policies:

  • Effectively addressing foreign state information manipulation requires countries to go beyond “monitor-and-report” approaches, to include developing and implementing strategies to counter this threat.

  • These policies should ensure safeguards for freedom of expression, protection for marginalized groups, transparency in media ownership, and a commitment to protect elections from foreign malign influence.Governance Structures and Institutions:

  • Marshaling and administering a national-level approach to countering foreign state information manipulation requires designated governance structures and institutions within governments.

  • The ability to organize dedicated government institutions to lead and coordinate national efforts, international engagement, and fact-based digital communication on foreign information manipulation is key to this effort.

Human and Technical Capacity:

  • Effectively countering foreign state information manipulation requires technical means and human capacity to maintain threat awareness.

  • Building effective capacity includes investing in digital security tools that can detect foreign state information manipulation and ensuring interoperability between government partners working to counter this threat.

Civil Society, Independent Media, and Academia:

  • Civil society, independent media, and academia can play essential roles in informing and supporting government-led initiatives to counter foreign state information manipulation.

  • Countering foreign state information manipulation is best done when governments protect and support the role of independent media, promote independent fact checking and media and digital literacy, and welcome public advocacy on the issue.

Multilateral Engagement:

  • Multilateral organizations that leverage international cooperation to counter and build resilience against foreign state information manipulation are indispensable to alleviating information and capability shortfalls across partner nations.

The Way Forward:

  • A broad coalition of like-minded partners is key to successfully countering foreign information manipulation, as each country brings different strengths, capacities, and resources to offer.

  • The United States calls on partner countries committed to promoting open and fact-based information environments, free from foreign information manipulation, to endorse the Key Action Areas included in the Framework and to begin working towards a coordinated approach to this transnational threat.

By committing to these five Key Action Areas, the United States with its partners and allies can begin working bilaterally and multilaterally to build societal resiliency to foreign disinformation.


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