Internet feeds swarm with cats and bots and trolls. Malicious posts, disguised on behalf of foreign agents trying to sow political and social chaos, compete for attention in comment threads, social media ads, and sophisticated Big Data-assisted influence campaigns. It can be challenging to connect with others through the noise. It can be even harder if you’re a government agency.
The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA, part of the Department of Homeland Security) is trying to grapple with that dystopian information landscape as the self-styled “nation’s risk advisor.” The agency team tasked with countering mis-, dis-, and malinformation is helpfully called the Mis-, Dis-, Malinformation team (or MDM). Its mission is “to build resilience against malicious information activities,” which it labels “an existential threat to the United States, our democratic way of life, and the infrastructure on which it relies.”
With the disruptions of 2016 still echoing in the lead up to the 2020 presidential election, the agency wanted a new way to engage more people, especially young people, to arm them against disinformation: graphic novels.