Introducing New Knowledge: Defending Public Discourse

We’re launching the world’s first platform for defending online communities from social media manipulation

Exploring the language of disinformation botnets using the New Knowledge platform

Our communities have been poisoned. It’s now clear that Russia waged a propaganda war to manipulate social media and divide Americans. Kremlin-backed trolls targeted immigrants, posed as Black Lives Matter activists, imitated conservatives, and started fake pro-Muslim groups — all to interfere with our public discourse. The scale of their operation was massive — they reached 126 million people on Facebook, posted 131,000 message on Twitter, uploaded 1,000 videos to YouTube, and reached over 20 million users on Instagram.

At New Knowledge, we saw this coming. Our technology had already uncovered Russian coordination across social media platforms in March, and we detected the early signs of social media manipulation in US politics over a year ago. More recently, we deployed our technology in collaboration with Clint Watts, JM Berger, and Andrew Weisburd for the Securing Democracy Project’s Hamilton68 dashboard, that reveals Russian disinformation tactics in near-real time.

Corporations, governments, and politicians need to defend themselves against this threat. That’s why New Knowledge is officially launching our digital threat mitigation platform for defending online communities from manipulation.

The Next Target: Industry

This problem didn’t start with politics, and it won’t end there. Facebook has admitted that 60 million of the accounts on its platform are fake, and researchers estimate that there are 48 million fake accounts on Twitter. Everyone from ISIS to anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists have exploited social media to force their agenda. Bands of internet trolls coordinate their activity across social media to attack celebrities, boycott of consumer products, undermine movie releases, and spread fake news after national tragedies. Meanwhile professional propagandists are directly targeting industry, spending tens of millions of dollars to promote an anti-fracking agenda or attack manufacturing rivals.

In response to this new threat, it’s essential to detect social media manipulation, identify the perpetrators, and understand the narrative — before the public, or your customers, are fooled.

The Solution

At New Knowledge we’ve built a team of experts in computational propaganda, national security, machine learning, and cultural anthropology. We’ve spent our careers building online communities, dissecting terrorist propaganda, and developing artificial intelligence. Our work has been published by the Brookings Institution, Washington Post, and The Atlantic, and we’ve provided commentary on disinformation operations for CNN, the New York Times, the Guardian, and many others.

Drawing on that expertise, we built a platform that detects propaganda campaigns in real time. It gives you an early warning about which accounts are conducting the attack, and what they’re trying to make your customers believe.

Analyzing how botnets manipulate discussions of Syria, using the New Knowledge platform

The platform is built on three principles: Community Discovery, Language Analysis, and Security.

Community Discovery
Our network analysis algorithms discover online communities, detect bots and other signs of automation, and identify the accounts that are influential in shaping the conversation.

Language Analysis
We’ve developed advanced language modeling techniques that measure subtle changes in conversation and show you how you’re being attacked — so you can see exactly which messages and topics are being force-fed to the communities you care about.

Security

We provide early warnings of potential attacks, and help your team respond quickly and effectively to disinformation campaigns.

Together, this is the first end-to-end solution for disinformation defense.

The Future

Our online communities are vulnerable. Today it’s false accounts and fake news, but tomorrow it will be fake images, completely manufactured video, or social bots so believable they’ll be impossible for humans to detect. Not only does this leave politicians and corporations vulnerable to information attacks, but if we don’t address this problem today, we’ll soon live in a world where we can’t trust any of the information we get online. The spaces where we gather to share ideas and debate will be destroyed.

At New Knowledge, we believe that it’s essential for an open society to have access to reliable information. We believe in the potential of the internet to bring us together, rather than drive us apart. Above all, we believe in the power of public discourse, and we’re here to defend it.

Join us.