Democracy in trouble

The technology of media distribution has changed, making it easier for public figures to escape accountability.

This has made ‘flooding the zone’ disinformation, which is heavily used by populist politicians, extremely successful.

Flooding the zone involves generating so much output that neither journalists nor opposing politicians can identify what you said precisely enough to argue against it. This rewards the populist style of politics, which focuses on the divisive manipulation of people’s emotions at the expense of good public policy to serve the interests of your voters.

This is bad for democracy and for confidence in democratic government.

So much to hunt through, so little time…

The economics of message distribution have changed, thanks to the revolution in advertising brought about by ad-funded social media platforms and internet search.

If political communication once had to pass through a relatively small number of newspapers or broadcast networks, it can now be put out through accounts on social media platforms, streaming services like YouTube and inexpensive highly partisan websites.

  • This has greatly increased the number of channels people can use to get their message across while reducing the time available to scrutinise them.

  • The platforms have captured greater share of advertising budgets, leaving less for journalists, even as the amount of output they have to sort through has increased.

  • Search engines, optimised for ad revenue, prioritise recency over attribution, which means it takes far longer to uncover a reliably sourced account of what people have said.

Now journalists and political researchers are overwhelmed and populist politicians escape accountability. By the time the right material has been discovered, the news cycle has moved on.

Precision Attribution

We are building a system optimised for accuracy and attribution. Our system will:

  • Focus on specific official accounts and high quality information sources to guarantee the provenance of our results.
  • Use semantic search to expose euphemisms and related language.
  • Be subscription-based, so immune from advertising pressures.

Article7 Intelligence gets you to the source.


This project is being done in partnership with the Innovations und Digitalagentur of ZDF and MDR, and is partly supported by the European Commission through the Stars4Media programme second edition.