All FSI Publications White Papers

Combating Information Manipulation: A Playbook for Elections and Beyond

A new playbook from the International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO) aims to help identify, respond to, and build long-term resilience to election-related information manipulation, attacks on information integrity and threats to delegitimize elections globally.
September 20, 2021

combatting information manipulation playbook coverOver the past few years, the International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO) have observed efforts to undermine election-related information integrity in every corner of the world. Without concerted efforts to identify, respond to, and build long-term resilience to election-related information manipulation, attacks on information integrity threaten to delegitimize elections globally, reduce faith in elected governments, polarize societies and weaken democracies writ large.

Dealing with information manipulation around an election is a new and unfamiliar phenomenon for many countries. Civil society actors, journalists, governments, election management bodies and other democratic actors often end up scrambling to respond in the lead-up to an election. To address this challenge, IRI, NDI and SIO have joined forces to create this playbook, intended to help leapfrog the first six months of the electoral preparation process. The playbook lays out the basics of the problem and the core elements of a response, and points to trusted resources for those looking to do a deeper dive into a particular type of intervention or threat.

We hope this playbook will enable you and everyone dedicated to defending democracy to push back against efforts that undermine free and fair political competition. Since information manipulation is an ongoing challenge, this playbook will also be useful outside of an election cycle.