Countering Disinformation Campaigns for Law Enforcement Command Staff, Practitioners, and Public Information Officers

Countering Disinformation Campaigns for Law Enforcement Command Staff, Practitioners, and Public Information Officers
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2021-01-28
Unit 1Transcript: Countering Disinformation Campaigns
Unit 2Workbook: Countering Disinformation Campaigns
Unit 3Recording: Countering Disinformation Campaigns

This is the final installment of Justice Clearinghouse’s Disinformation Webinar Series. The first two webinars provided an overview of the damage that disinformation has brought on to the law enforcement profession for leaders and middle managers. This time around, the target audience is the frontline officers and deputies whose lives are put on the line at work every day.

The experts who make up this session’s panel are:

  • Mark Pfeifle, Senior Advisor for Marketing Strategy, and Communications for National Sheriffs Association
  • Paul Goldenberg, Resource person for Rutgers University’s Miller Center for Community Protection and Resilience and member of the United States Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC)
  • Joel Finkelstein, Director of the Network Contagion Research Institute
  • Johnmichael O’Hare, Business Development/Sales Director with Cobwebs Technologies
  • Bob Jensen, Senior Managing Director of Strat3

Topics delved into on this webinar are:

  • The value of social media monitoring as demonstrated in how the Capitol incident and many others in the country unfolded as a result of the online congregation of extremists and conspiracy theorists.
  • The National Contagion Research Institute (NCRI)’s pioneering work in unpacking disinformation campaigns and the real-world violence that results from these.
  • NCRI’s deep dive into the dynamics of online conspiracy and extremism groups from both ends of the political spectrum that:
    • Follows timelines from the groups’ inception and growth to the operationalization and emergence of violence.
    • Examines the keywords, symbols, codes, insignia, and hashtags that are used by and linked to its members that provide insights on the groups’ dogma, methods, and plans.
    • Shows the different platforms that they’re utilizing to spread disinformation.
    • Demonstrates how mainstream social media are unknowingly fueling hate and divisiveness through profit-driven algorithms.
    • Demonstrates real-world implications of the groups’ doctrine with case examples of members committing acts of violence.
  • Cobwebs Technologies’ proficiency that allows to follow online conspiracy and extremism groups’ activities and track the events that led to the momentous January 6th Capitol siege.
    • Looking into the hashtags that gained traction following Trump’s announcement.
    • The rate of spread of the call for the protest as observed in the reach and engagement of the memes, keywords and hashtags that were surfacing.
  • Capabilities that law enforcement must adapt to be able to get ahead of disinformation and maintain situational awareness through social media analysis and real-time alerting mechanism.
  • A glimpse into the actors who are involved in disinformation campaigns, their goals, means, and tactics, and the role of technology in spreading disinformation and combating it as well.
  • A four-step strategy for law enforcement agencies by to counter disinformation by:
    • Finding out whether the organization is targeted with tips on how to employ this cost-effectively.
    • Techniques to analyze the attacks to figure out the motives.
    • Developing a counter-messaging plan that considers both facts and emotions, and with a rapid response capability.
    • The value of having engaged stakeholders and an educated public in the overall effort to defeat disinformation and the resources and strategies to carry it out.

Questions from the audience were about:

  • Getting leadership support and buy-in for initiatives to counter disinformation.
  • The nitty-gritty of countering disinformation – getting started with familiarity of the platforms and social media listening.
  • The efforts from the federal level to combat disinformation.



Other Webinars in this Series:


Or click here to view and register for other upcoming NSA webinars on the JCH Platform.



Resources Mentioned



Audience Comments

  • “This continues to be an outstanding series. We in the LE community, partially due to culture/legacy thinking and more recently due to defunding, are sorely behind the times when it comes to our application of, and understanding of, open-source information, disinformation, social media, etc. Please continue to drive these topics forward, and thank you again.” –Curtis
  • How fascinating and terrifying it is, the predictions made by analyzing social media, weeks or months before events occur. I may not know enough about this by far but am wondering if there is a better way to share that knowledge and convince people to take it seriously. I think there could be a whole training just on how to coordinate regional teams to analyze threats. — Abigail
  • How disinformation lights the powder-keg! We need to establish strong partnerships with the informal community leaders to disseminate facts, quickly, in real time. — Roseann
  • Excellent information and presenters. A must for every law enforcement officer and agency in these trying times. Thanks again! — Ben
  • I would love to see a webinar on this same topic that is directed at probation/parole/pretrial officers. We see offenders every day and could benefit on what to listen for. — Christie
  • I had no idea of the amount of anti-government / anti-law enforcement organizations existed. It was very insightful to see how they strategize/coordinate and how they are able to communicate both nationally and globally. Excellent course. Thank you. — Joshua
  • 10+10+10! Amazing webinar! Please do more webinars based on this topic. It’s difficult for some agencies to devote specific individuals to monitor everything that is out there, and this webinar brought so much to light regarding what’s going on right now. Thank you again. All the presenters were amazing! — Kathy




** This webinar has been certified by the National Sheriffs' Association and may be eligible for Continuing Education Units through your POST. Please consult your local certification processes for additional details. Paid subscribers that attend will be able to download a jointly issued attendance certificate that includes the National Sheriffs' Association logo.
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