In an apparent focus on fighting state-sponsored disinformation and propaganda targeting the United States from countries such as Russia, North Korea and China, the US Government announced a $40 million fund.
Monday’s announcement didn’t mention any country by name, but it comes at a time Washington is facing massive anti-US campaign on various platforms, including social media networks.
The initiative is led by the Department of State in partnership with the Department of Defense.
Under a Memorandum of Agreement signed by the two departments, the Pentagon will transfer the money to the Department of State’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) in Fiscal Year 2018.
An Information Access Fund will be created for civil society groups, media content providers, nongovernmental organizations, federally funded research and development centers, private companies, and academic institutions to compete for grants from the GEC to advance their work to
counter propaganda and disinformation.
Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Steve Goldstein said “This funding is critical to ensuring that we continue an aggressive response to malign influence and disinformation and that we can leverage deeper partnerships with our allies, Silicon Valley, and other partners in this fight.”
“It is not merely a defensive posture that we should take. We also need to be on the offensive,” he said in a statement.
Chris Murphy, who spearheaded key legislation related to GEC’s funding and mission, said he hopes “this announcement is a sign that the Trump administration will finally start to make use of the tools Congress gave them to fight back against Russian disinformation and terrorist propaganda.”