Happy New Year 2022!
A quick update here at Selected Wisdom to kick off the new year. Last year, we started a SubStack and revived the original concept of the Selected Wisdom blog started in 2010. We published about a dozen posts as we encountered interesting topics we were working on: describing Russia’s disinformation ecosystem, how Iran conducts social media influence operations, and more recently, the enormity of China’s propaganda machine around the world and how the CCP seeks to use an army of social media influencers to shape global opinions about China. We also offered some snapshots of how we assess the state of domestic extremism in the U.S., along with an occasional post on the pandemic, vaccines and the challenges of parenting a child with autism during lockdowns.
Ultimately, the posts were far ranging, and as the year closed, we felt that the production of content was random in cadence and topic, too diverse and too sporadic. Separately, we started creating some video content on our YouTube channel Trust But Verify, which reinforced and further explained our analysis at this Substack. In 2022, we will be producing a much larger proportion of content in audio and video formats here at Selected Wisdom including interviews and discussion sessions.
After much explanation, we arrive at the update. Today, we’ve divided Selected Wisdom into not one, but two Substacks. (Please control your excitement.) The goal is to provide consistency to readers as to what type of content they’ll be receiving and who the authors will be.
The first Substack, this one, Selected Wisdom, will remain and host Clint’s content, including writing and interviews on all things terrorism, counterterrorism, propaganda, disinformation, new technology, and national security. However, rather than being strictly print articles, there will be a blend of mediums with podcasts and videos coming soon. The pipeline for the next few weeks includes:
An update on America’s domestic extremism scene (tomorrow).
The sequel to my first book Messing With The Enemy. A year ago, I started a book proposal, but trends have unfolded faster than I can capture them for a book. I’ll be authoring the sequel here in posts over the next year.
A multi-part series on information warfare to include some video recordings.
Three podcasts—each with different focuses I believe you might enjoy.
The second Substack is where I hope you will subscribe today. Currently, I work with the most talented and innovative group of analysts I’ve ever known. We are called Miburo, and together monitor foreign influence across all forms of media. As a reader at Selected Wisdom, you may have noticed mentions of brilliant contributors authoring posts and creating colorful charts. These Miburo teammates spot the manipulative doings of the Kremlin, the shady journalism of oligarchs, watch the vloggers of China, and protect elections from foreign manipulators.
Going forward, the Miburo team will maintain its own Substack detailing the latest trends in foreign malign influence, electoral interference, and creepy public relations firms. Please check it out here and subscribe for these updates.
All of which brings me to the latest product of the Miburo team.
A couple weeks back, The New York Times showcased the work of Miburo Chief Innovation Officer Nick Monaco. Over most of last year, Nick tracked and traced the evolution of a multi-platform Chinese influence campaign involving more than 2,000 accounts. The campaign sought to deny human rights abuses in China’s northwest region of Xinjiang, denigrate Taiwan’s ruling party, and spread Chinese propaganda on COVID-19 and vaccines.
At the Miburo Substack, Nick divides the Chinese influence operation into six different sections. Check them out at the links below and subscribe for updates as the Miburo team will have many more posts coming up in 2022.
Figure 1 Network visualization of a subset of manually gathered Spamouflage accounts on Facebook shows different content focuses for different clusters. Connections represent likes or shares, nodes are pages and accounts. Larger nodes are “seeds,” producing original content amplified by others.