The only purpose of disinformation is to deceive us.

That statement alone should be enough to motivate us to ask “how can we not be deceived and how do we know more about how it happens”.  There are many ways, of course, but we can counter disinformation if we are willing to educate our citizens on what disinformation is all about.  This is why I was very pleased to meet with Milan Tanceski of Blink 42-21 during my recent visit to speak at the first annual Media Innovation Forum in Skopje, Macedonia.

Macedonia has had its share of issues battling disinformation, as have virtually all countries in the world at this point.  The big difference is that Milan and his team are working on educational solutions to help the citizens of Macedonia learn what to look for and to be more aware of the perils of this type of propaganda.

I agreed to join the series and did a brief video interview (see below) on how bot networks take advantage of Twitter to drive us towards illicit goods, services or extreme views.  In the video, I describe how it often works.

An Internet Bot often seems very mysterious, but it is really quite straight forward.

A bot is just a software application running automated tasks over the Internet.  They are excellent at performing repetitive tasks, like retweeting certain accounts or dumping in keywords via tweets over and over.

In today’s world, it is very easy for bad actors to set up a bot network in days that looks real, shares tweets, fools search engines and drives us to the wrong place.  It drives people to counterfeit goods, services that are shams and groups that hold extreme views.

We can all improve in how we educate our countries and the world to increase our self-awareness.  The team in Macedonia is making an important step forward, which I applaud.  This series, which is just starting, can serve as an example for countries worldwide.  I hope you take a moment to watch this video and subsequent videos.  Please share ideas on what you believe the series should cover in the future, as well.

Let’s always remember that our world is filled with people who prefer a peaceful existence.  Very few of us are bad actors.  Let’s outlearn and outsmart them.

Best, Bob