Sunday, October 04, 2020

Foreign Interference in the 2020 Election

Interference 2020 - Foreign Interference Attribution Tracker is a visualization of foreign interference in this year's U.S. Presidential Election. The map was created by the Digital Forensic Research Lab of the Atlantic Council to explore and examine allegations of foreign interference in the U.S. election.

I'd like to give a lot of credit to Interference 2020 for originality. It is a very interesting attempt to combine a timeline and map. However as an interactive experience I find it almost impossible to navigate. The mouse-over interactions on the red circles make it very difficult to select individual interference attempts or navigate from one circle to another. Lines connect each circle to a country on the map but most of the time the information window which opens (when hovering over a circle) hides this line, making it impossible at times to see which country made the selected interference attempt.

Interference 2020 is an innovative attempt to combine a timeline and interactive map. The red circles (attempts at interference) which run across the top of the map are arranged in chronological order. Lines run from these circles to show the country where each attempt at interfering in the election originated from. The size of each circle is determined by its 'attribution impact' (the number of times people engaged with the attempted interference on social media).

Overall I'd say that Interference 2020 is an interesting but not entirely successful visualization of foreign government attempts to influence the American election. What the map does make very clear is that the majority of the attempts to interfere in the U.S. election have originated from Russia, China and Iran.

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