Elections 2020Sep 22, 2020
Five big questions as America votes: Disinformation
Whether the mis- or disinformation is foreign or domestic in origin, an information environment rife with confusing, polarizing, and often false narratives can only serve to further divide an already tense nation.
Issue briefs and reportsJun 5, 2020
Operation Carthage: How a Tunisian company conducted influence operations in African presidential elections
By Andy Carvin, Luiza Bandeira, Graham Brookie, Iain Robertson, Nika Aleksejeva, Alyssa Kann, Kanishk Karan, Ayushman Kaul, Tessa Knight, Jean le Roux, Roman Osadchik, Esteban Ponce de Leon
A Tunisia-based company operated a sophisticated digital campaign involving multiple social media platforms and websites in an attempt to influence the country’s 2019 presidential election, as well as other recent elections in Africa. In an exclusive investigation that began in September 2019, the DFRLab uncovered dozens of online assets with connections to Tunisian digital communications firm UReputation. On June 5, 2020, after conducting its own investigation, Facebook announced it had taken down more than 900 assets affiliated with the UReputation operation, including 182 user accounts, 446 pages, and 96 groups, as well as 209 Instagram accounts. The operation also involved the publication of multiple Francophone websites, some going back more than five years.
Alyssa Kann is a research associate at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab based in Washington, DC. Her work on influence operations and disinformation has been cited by CBS News, CNN, the Washington Post, CyberScoop, and more.
Kann previously worked in an academic lab studying extremism, where she specialized in social network analysis. She earned her BA at Brandeis University on a merit scholarship, where she graduated magna cum laude studying international politics, economics, and environmental studies. For her senior honors thesis, she analyzed meme campaigns targeting presidential candidates. While an undergraduate, she was a publications assistant for a social-justice festival, as well as a teaching assistant for environmental science and diplomacy classes.