Grantee Spotlight: Disinformation Defense League – Liberating Communities from Disinformation

The Disinformation Defense League (DDL) is a national network of grassroots organizations that builds defenses against disinformation and misinformation campaigns targeting communities of color. WDN’s Participation and Representation initiative’s funding has helped them deliver narrative-based interventions, develop COVID-19 messaging and programming, and evaluate community needs.

In the lead-up to the midterm elections and beyond, they are making significant strides to support communities that have been marginalized, expand the electorate, and remove barriers to participation so that everyone has a voice in decision-making.

The DDL is organized around a number of effective working groups. Here are a few updates: 

Skilling up to Fight Disinformation

The DDL Research Team has developed a number of trainings to help close hard skills gaps among members addressing election-related mis- and disinformation. The trainings include:

  • Understanding election misinformation
  • Harnessing the power of keywords in online searches
  • Conducting research
  • Countering disinformation
  • Train-the-trainer workshops aimed at helping members share DDL teachings among their networks 

The DDL Research Team will also be releasing election monitoring dashboards to members to augment their research capabilities by giving them access to searches and lists from Meta platforms. The team also plans to introduce a new tool, Feedbro, to members who have limited or no access to monitoring software. Feedbro will help members amalgamate public pages, groups, channels, and feeds from a variety of platforms into one space. It will also allow members to create live feeds of posts from specific online personalities. The team also plans to release DDL’s now completed toolkit, a constantly updating database of monitoring and verification tools and resources for researchers.

Making National News

On August 4, Disinformation Defense League’s (DDL) Asian American Disinformation and Targeted Disinformation (AADT) Working Group released a landscape report “Power, Platforms, & Politics: Asian Americans & Disinformation,” outlining the major narratives circulating within these communities. The report was covered by NBC News and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Working at the Intersection of Disinformation Defense and Immigrant Advocacy

The Immigration Disinformation Working Group plans to produce trainings for members of immigrant advocacy communities, as well as develop monitoring dashboards to aid groups in identifying problematic and harmful narratives with more speed and efficacy.

The group welcomed a new member to the team: Victor Guillen Febres, United We Dream’s Disinformation Program Strategist. Victor will work closely with the working group to:

  • Guide the team’s understanding of the immigration advocacy landscape
  • Help identify gaps at the intersection between disinformation mitigation and immigration advocacy

Moving on Policy Priorities: Public Comment, Storytelling, and Media Outreach

DDL’s Policy Working Group has begun mobilizing around the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) recent commercial surveillance and data security work. The working group will host a workshop and make research available to help organizations make their questions and concerns known.

The group has also begun its story collection process, with the aim of gathering accounts of direct harm. They aim to mobilize members and other storytellers ahead of the informal hearing

process and ultimately meet with commissioners to lay out their compelling stories. Additionally, they plan to support a number of op-eds that will appear in targeted local and state publications.

Building a Shared Narrative Within Liberation Movements

The DDL Narrative Council hosted a presentation by Jeff Chang and Dennis Chin of Race Forward entitled, “Building our own Narrative Infrastructure” where DDL members, and invited partners in journalism, voting rights advocacy, narrative strategists, and disinformation researchers were able to learn more about how liberation movements can unify behind a shared narrative.

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