If it’s true that the truth wins out in the long run, the secret to running a successful disinformation campaign is to hit hard and fast, hoping to create as much damage as possible before the truth catches up. Anita Sarkeesian has detailed a good example of this.
In the process of investigating what specifically had triggered this flood of harassment, I found images circulating on Twitter and Tumblr of two fake, inflammatory tweets that I had never written. […]
A Twitter user who tracks GamerGate found the origin of the attack on 4chan and shared proof that the harassers knew they were spreading misinformation. They were the ones doing exactly what many of the harassers they spurred on accused me of doing: callously using a man’s tragic death as an opportunity.
They seized it and turned it into a weapon to use against me.
Some harassers knew, others were tricked, but the end result was a cybermob of hate that lasted most of the week.
The other problem is that it isn’t certain that the truth wins out. We’re finite creatures, we don’t have the luxury of tracking down every lead back to the source. It’s in this space where disinformation thrives; so long as the effort to track down the truth outweighs the need to know, the lie will remain unchallenged. This can be encouraged by spreading as many lies as possible, increasing the amount of fact-checking necessary and invoking our intuition of the law of large numbers. Even if the odds of any one claim being true are small, the odds of one out of many claims being true should be high.
Ergo, fling the lies hard, fast, and in great abundance, and the truth can’t keep up.