Inside the ‘Malarkey Factory,’ Biden’s online war room

Washington Post
October 19, 2020

Joe Biden’s campaign has quietly built a multimillion-dollar operation over the past two months that’s largely designed to combat misinformation online, aiming to rebut President Trump while bracing for any information warfare that could take place in the aftermath of the election.

The effort, internally called the “Malarkey Factory,” consists of dozens of people around the country monitoring what information is gaining traction digitally, whether it’s resonating with swing voters and, if so, how to fight back. The three most salient attacks the Malarkey Factory has confronted so far are claims that Biden is a socialist, that he is “creepy” and that he is “sleepy” or senile.

“The real dilemma of misinformation, from a campaign perspective, is that in the vast majority of cases, the correct tactical thing to do is nothing,” said Matthew Hindman, an associate professor at George Washington University who co-wrote a study on misinformation during the 2018 midterms. “There is a very real risk that you will take a nothing story that nobody has heard of and raise its prominence and give it oxygen.”

And given the speed of social media, that decision often has to be made within minutes.

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