Information integrity

Healthy information environments promote accountability, transparency and trust in elections and political processes

A strong information ecosystem is vital for a thriving democracy. As communications increasingly move online, new challenges have emerged that undermine the integrity of the information environment and ultimately threaten democratic resilience. The spread of online disinformation, misinformation, and dangerous speech (DMDS) distorts information, while insufficient transparency hinders efforts to hold political contestants and others accountable for their online behavior. IFES’ information integrity programming supports efforts to curtail and counteract the spread of DMDS; strengthens the communications capabilities of election authorities, civil society organizations (CSOs) and institutional actors; and promotes greater transparency surrounding the online activity of political actors.

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Equipping election authorities to build trust and counter disinformation

Equipping election authorities to build trust and counter disinformation

IFES works in partnership with election management bodies (EMBs) to enhance their strategic, crisis and digital communications capabilities, enabling them to identify and preempt information crises and communicate in ways that promote transparency and trust in the electoral process. IFES builds bridges between EMBs and social media and technology companies, as well as between EMBs and CSOs, the media, other state institutions and peer institutions in other countries to promote collaboration to counter DMDS and promote credible electoral information environments.

Addressing the role of social media and digital technology in campaigning

To support greater transparency and accountability, IFES works with regulators, judges and oversight institutions to identify and address gaps in legal and regulatory frameworks and enforcement related to online conduct during campaigns and elections. IFES provides comparative perspectives and technical advice on the oversight of political advertising online, the development of codes of conduct for online campaigning and the monitoring of online spaces for abuse of state resources and campaign violations.

Designing adaptive programming that responds to the differential experiences of marginalized groups

Given the ways in which identity is leveraged in disinformation campaigns, the differential experiences of marginalized groups must be considered in any programming approach that seeks to mitigate the erosion of information integrity. IFES’ Chain of Harm Framework is used to tailor programming approaches, providing a lens to identify and address the interplay between identify-based hate speech and disinformation campaigns. IFES also implements interventions to mitigate the harms of gender-based disinformation and online harassment.

Countering hate speech and building resilience to online harms

IFES deploys a range of programming to mitigate harms and build resilience against irresponsible and malicious use of information and data. This work includes counterspeech trainings and fact-checking networks to address online hate and disinformation; the expansion of IFES’ online violence monitoring and reporting platform to track instance of online incitement ahead of elections; audience-specific media literacy trainings; as well as innovative partnerships to develop artificial intelligence-powered tools to identify online hate speech.

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IFES Democratic Resilience Lab

IFES designs, tests and deploys innovative strategies and capabilities to strengthen democratic resilience and counter backsliding and authoritarianism.

Focus Areas

IFES joins with others to tackle the most pressing issues for democracy and elections today.