COSMOS hosted members of the Department of State on Wednesday, November 28, 2018, as part of the Global Engagement Center’s (GEC) Technology Demonstration Series. During the visit, team members demonstrated the functionality of Blogtrackers and YouTubeTracker, two web-based technologies that are able to assist the GEC identify and analyze foreign propaganda and disinformation.
Dr. Agarwal’s team of researchers is one of 14 groups throughout the country that is participating in the program, which is organized by the Global Engagement Center that is charged with leading the U.S. government’s efforts to counter propaganda and disinformation from international terrorist organizations and foreign countries.
COSMOS researchers showcased technologies like Blogtrackers and YouTubeTracker, two of COSMOS’ latest applications that help monitor conversations and discourse on social media platforms. These applications further help in tracking information actors and narratives as disinformation is disseminated through social networks including blogs, YouTube, and Twitter.
YouTubeTracker demonstrates expansion in COSMOS’ research goals from understanding how people consume media via reading to including viewing-oriented information consumption.
The Secretary of State established the Global Engagement Center (GEC) in April 2016 pursuant to Executive Order 13721. The GEC was subsequently codified into law by Congress in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which defined its mission as being to “lead, synchronize, and coordinate efforts of the Federal Government to recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United States national security interests.”
The work of the GEC is focused around four core areas: science and technology, interagency engagement, partner engagement, and content production.
Other members of the delegation who joined via video conference included representatives from the Department of Homeland Security, other Department of State offices, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO), United States Central Command, and other agencies.