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McCain Institute and The Carter Center Publish “The Disinformation Economy”

Report outlines relationship between online advertising, social media, and disinformation


The McCain Institute at Arizona State University (ASU) and The Carter Center today released “The Disinformation Economy.”

The latest joint report by the two organizations examines the prevalence of disinformation on over 300 ad systems and how many of these platforms facilitate the monetization of disinformation.

The Carter Center and the McCain Institute investigated the online advertising ecosystem. This report presents some key findings, including:

  • Disinformation sources benefit extensively from online advertising revenue.
  • Disinformation sources are not a core component of ad tech systems’ business models.
  • Advertisers are likely unaware of where their ads are running.
  • Credible media sites have direct relationships with ad tech systems that work with disinformation sites.
  • Google is the dominant force in the programmatic advertising space and any effective industrial action to demonetize disinformation must include their ad tech platforms.

“With the threat of AI supercharging the creation of disinformation, it is important to cut it off at the source,” said David Carroll, director of the Democracy Program at The Carter Center. “By cutting off ad revenue to known sources of disinformation, we can reduce its appeal as a business model and decrease the volume of false narratives ahead of the 2024 elections.”

“This comprehensive report examining the disinformation economy could not come at a more critical time,” said the McCain Institute’s Chief Program Officer Kristen Abrams. “As Americans prepare for the 2024 presidential election, it is critical that ad systems, social media sites, and advertisers mitigate known sources of disinformation, despite lost revenue, for the overall health of our democracy.”

The McCain Institute and The Carter Center published “Russian Disinformation Grows Resilient to Western Sanctions and Big Tech Pushback” in December 2022.

Read the full report HERE.


About the McCain Institute at Arizona State University
The McCain Institute is a nonpartisan organization inspired by Senator John McCain and his family’s dedication to public service. We are part of Arizona State University and based in Washington, D.C. Our programs defend democracy, advance human rights and freedom, and empower character-driven leaders. Our unique power to convene leaders across the global political spectrum enables us to make a real impact on the world’s most pressing challenges. Our goal is action, not talk, and like Senator McCain, we are fighting to create a free, safe, and just world for all.

About Arizona State University
Arizona State University has developed a new model for the American research university, creating an institution that is committed to access, excellence, and impact. ASU measures itself by those it includes, not by those it excludes. As the prototype for a New American University, ASU pursues research that contributes to the public good, and ASU assumes major responsibility for the economic, social and cultural vitality of the communities that surround it.

The Carter Center
Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope.

A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in over 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.

Visit our website | Follow us on X @CarterCenter | Follow us on Instagram @thecartercenter | Like us on Facebook | Watch us on YouTube

Date de publication
juin 5, 2024