Reverse Engineering Governments' Crisis Communication Playbooks
Award last edited on: 5/16/2023

Sponsored Program
Awarding Agency
Total Award Amount
Award Phase
Solicitation Topic Code
Principal Investigator
Glenn Amundsen

Company Information

Thresher Ventures LLC

841 Elm Street Suite 333
Mclean, VA 22101
   (703) 623-5590
Location: Single
Congr. District: 08
County: Fairfax

Phase I

Contract Number: N/A
Start Date: 3/31/2022    Completed: 3/30/2025
Phase I year
Phase I Amount
Direct to Phase II

Phase II

Contract Number: W911NF22C0009
Start Date: 3/31/2022    Completed: 3/30/2025
Phase II year
Phase II Amount
Thresher proposes reverse engineering the governments' crisis communications playbooks so that we can predict which online communication strategy a given government will use in a given crisis and inform a USG counter playbook. Our analysts have identified several communications “plays” (i.e. online interventions designed to manipulate the online conversation) in our dataset. Our data set includes responses to local and global crises. The case study approach is the most common approach to understanding crisis communication in social media, and those longitudinal studies that have been conducted only examine about 100 cases. Based on our analysis of online communication patterns during several crises, we hypothesize that governments are using nuanced plays that can be detected automatically by analyzing our labeled data at scale. We will combine our experience applying neural network language models to isolate narratives in events with techniques in signal processing and multivariate time series clustering in order to automatically catalog plays. We will then develop models to predict which play will be used in a given crisis using supervised machine learning and change point detection. We will test if and how the playbook applies across social media platforms.