US Experiences Rising Disinformation Threat

The endless conspiracy theories and misinformation and misleading information found on the internet and on social media forums put the United States on high alert for a possible terror attack.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), on Monday (7/2), issued an updated National Terrorism Report bulletin. The bulletin warns that while the mainstream of threats has changed little over the past year they have almost all improved in the available information environment.

DHS said the use of false narratives aimed at undermining trust in public institutions, combined with increasing calls for violence by domestic actors and foreign terrorist organizations, “has increased the turmoil, uncertainty and complexity of the threat situation.”

In particular, the updated DHS bulletin cites the “widespread internet use of false or misleading narratives regarding unsubstantiated election fraud and COVID-19,” which it says is being enhanced by “malicious foreign powers.”

The bulletin also warns of continued calls for violence against easy targets—public places and gatherings that often have limited security—including places of worship such as churches, mosques and synagogues.

“The recent attack on a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, underscores the continuing threat of violence based on racial or religious motivation, as well as threats to faith-based organizations,” the bulletin said.

Recent threats to historic black colleges and universities are also “a cause for concern and could inspire extremists to mobilize for violence,” the bulletin said. [my/jm]