Political Party/527

Defeat Disinfo PAC

Website:

defeatdisinfo.org

Location:

NY

Executive Director:

Curtis Hougland

Type:

PAC

Formation:

2020

Defeat Disinfo Political Action Committee (PAC) is a left-of-center organization leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) technology to combat alleged disinformation from President Donald Trump. The PAC was founded by activist Curtis Hougland, a former contractor for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). [1] Hougland claims that President Trump’s agenda is killing Americans. [2] The PAC is supporting Obama administration Vice President Joe Biden’s 2020 Presidential campaign. [3]

The AI system detects communications from President Trump trending on social media and then finds the most effective opposing viewpoints. The system then contacts a claimed network of social media users to ubiquitously share the stories. Retired U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal, the former head of American military operations in Afghanistan, is an advisor for Defeat Disinfo PAC. [4]

Main Street One

Main Street One is a left-progressive technology firm that leveraged DARPA technology to create and power Defeat Disinfo PAC’s artificial intelligence system. Main Street One has been described as a “rebellious tech start-up.” It received fiscal support from start-up incubator Higher Ground Labs, which launched the month after President Donald Trump’s election in 2016. Higher Ground Labs was created by supporters of former President Barack Obama, Betsy Hoover and Shomik Dutta. Main Street One pledged to fund progressive technology start-ups with $10 million and aid the Democratic party by driving political tools to help progressive candidates get elected. [5]

Main Street One received $500,000 for its services to support the Presidential campaign of U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ). [6]

Leadership

Curtis Hougland is the founder of Main Street One and Defeat Disinfo PAC. He was previously a specialist in opposing online extremism and engaged in a propaganda fight against the terrorist organization Islamic State (ISIS). DARPA, the Pentagon research group, funded his work to counter ISIS’ global messaging. In monitoring the 2016 election cycle, Hougland alleged that Republican operatives employed similar strategies. He started Defeat Disinfo PAC to create a barrage of social media countermeasures to reduce support for President Trump in the 2020 elections. [7]

Hougland has said that President Trump’s message is the greatest accelerator of falsifications in America and that his words create literal damage. [8] His main goal is to create the largest library of anti-Trump information and to share it as needed. [9]

Former U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal is an advisor to the PAC. [10]

Stephanie Berger fundraises for Defeat Disinfo Pac and was previously the national finance director for the Democratic National Committee. [11]

The System

Defeat Disinfo PAC’s system employs artificial intelligence to track President Trump’s messaging and then uses algorithms to select the best way to attack the President’s claims. When President Trump defended the rights of people protesting against stay-at-home lockdown orders, the system recommended countermeasures of healthcare workers’ stories. Defeat Disinfo uses the example of the “bleach” uproar (in which people objected to President Trump’s idle speculation about turning disinfectant bleach into a COVID-19 treatment) as testimony to the need for the system to oppose the President’s statements to the American people. [12]

Social Media Influencers

Defeat Disinfo PAC leverages Main Street One’s technology to distribute the counter-messaging against President Trump’s messaging. The information is sent to a claimed 3.4 million social media participants in the United States; reporting by the Washington Post alleged that some of these participants were paid “influencers.” [13]

These social media supporters are expected to overcome President Trump’s staunch supporters that seek his reelection. [14]  The influencers use loaded language, referring to President Trump and his policies in aggressively hostile terms. [15]

Other Democratic-aligned political action committees do not follow Defeat Disinfo PAC’s practice of paying influencers. [16]

References

  1. Stanley-Becker, I. (2020, May 01). Technology once used to combat ISIS propaganda is enlisted by Democratic group to counter Trump’s coronavirus messaging. Retrieved May 28, 2020, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/technology-once-used-to-combat-isis-propaganda-is-enlisted-by-democratic-group-to-counter-trumps-coronavirus-messaging/2020/05/01/6bed5f70-8a5b-11ea-ac8a-fe9b8088e101_story.html ^
  2. Lovelace, R. (2020, May 6). Defeat Disinfo to use AI to battle Trump tweets, boost … Retrieved May 28, 2020, from https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/may/6/defeat-disinfo-use-ai-battle-trump-tweets-boost-co/ ^
  3. Zakrzewski, C. (2020, May 04). The Technology 202: U.S. gears up for privacy debate as coronavirus phone monitoring expands globally. Retrieved May 28, 2020, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/the-technology-202/2020/05/04/the-technology-202-u-s-gears-up-for-privacy-debate-as-coronavirus-phone-monitoring-expands-globally/5eaee1b788e0fa594778d848/ ^
  4. Zakrzewski, C. (2020, May 04). The Technology 202: U.S. gears up for privacy debate as coronavirus phone monitoring expands globally. Retrieved May 28, 2020, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/the-technology-202/2020/05/04/the-technology-202-u-s-gears-up-for-privacy-debate-as-coronavirus-phone-monitoring-expands-globally/5eaee1b788e0fa594778d848/ ^
  5. HAMBY, P. (2019, June 25). Can Democrats Win Back the Internet In the Age of Trump … Retrieved May 28, 2020, from https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/06/can-democrats-win-back-the-internet-in-the-age-of-trump ^
  6. Stanley-Becker, I. (2020, May 01). Technology once used to combat ISIS propaganda is enlisted by Democratic group to counter Trump’s coronavirus messaging. Retrieved May 28, 2020, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/technology-once-used-to-combat-isis-propaganda-is-enlisted-by-democratic-group-to-counter-trumps-coronavirus-messaging/2020/05/01/6bed5f70-8a5b-11ea-ac8a-fe9b8088e101_story.html ^
  7. HAMBY, P. (2019, June 25). Can Democrats Win Back the Internet In the Age of Trump … Retrieved May 28, 2020, from https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/06/can-democrats-win-back-the-internet-in-the-age-of-trump ^
  8. Lovelace, R. (2020, May 6). Defeat Disinfo to use AI to battle Trump tweets, boost … Retrieved May 28, 2020, from https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/may/6/defeat-disinfo-use-ai-battle-trump-tweets-boost-co/ ^
  9. Stanley-Becker, I. (2020, May 01). Technology once used to combat ISIS propaganda is enlisted by Democratic group to counter Trump’s coronavirus messaging. Retrieved May 28, 2020, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/technology-once-used-to-combat-isis-propaganda-is-enlisted-by-democratic-group-to-counter-trumps-coronavirus-messaging/2020/05/01/6bed5f70-8a5b-11ea-ac8a-fe9b8088e101_story.html ^
  10. Stanley-Becker, I. (2020, May 01). Technology once used to combat ISIS propaganda is enlisted by Democratic group to counter Trump’s coronavirus messaging. Retrieved May 28, 2020, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/technology-once-used-to-combat-isis-propaganda-is-enlisted-by-democratic-group-to-counter-trumps-coronavirus-messaging/2020/05/01/6bed5f70-8a5b-11ea-ac8a-fe9b8088e101_story.html ^
  11. Stanley-Becker, I. (2020, May 01). Technology once used to combat ISIS propaganda is enlisted by Democratic group to counter Trump’s coronavirus messaging. Retrieved May 28, 2020, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/technology-once-used-to-combat-isis-propaganda-is-enlisted-by-democratic-group-to-counter-trumps-coronavirus-messaging/2020/05/01/6bed5f70-8a5b-11ea-ac8a-fe9b8088e101_story.html ^
  12. Macaulay, T. (2020, May 04). Democrats counter Trump’s fake coronavirus news with AI that fought ISIS propaganda. Retrieved May 28, 2020, from https://thenextweb.com/neural/2020/05/04/democrats-counter-trumps-fake-coronavirus-news-with-ai-that-fought-isis-propaganda/ ^
  13. Zakrzewski, C. (2020, May 04). The Technology 202: U.S. gears up for privacy debate as coronavirus phone monitoring expands globally. Retrieved May 28, 2020, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/the-technology-202/2020/05/04/the-technology-202-u-s-gears-up-for-privacy-debate-as-coronavirus-phone-monitoring-expands-globally/5eaee1b788e0fa594778d848/ ^
  14. Stanley-Becker, I. (2020, May 01). Technology once used to combat ISIS propaganda is enlisted by Democratic group to counter Trump’s coronavirus messaging. Retrieved May 28, 2020, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/technology-once-used-to-combat-isis-propaganda-is-enlisted-by-democratic-group-to-counter-trumps-coronavirus-messaging/2020/05/01/6bed5f70-8a5b-11ea-ac8a-fe9b8088e101_story.html ^
  15. O’Connell, J. (2020, May 20). These Aren’t Alternative Facts, They’re Dangerous Lies With Body Counts. Retrieved May 28, 2020, from https://defeatdisinfo.org/these-arent-alternative-facts-theyre-dangerous-lies/ ^
  16. Zakrzewski, C. (2020, May 04). The Technology 202: U.S. gears up for privacy debate as coronavirus phone monitoring expands globally. Retrieved May 28, 2020, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/the-technology-202/2020/05/04/the-technology-202-u-s-gears-up-for-privacy-debate-as-coronavirus-phone-monitoring-expands-globally/5eaee1b788e0fa594778d848/ ^
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Defeat Disinfo PAC

NY