Attention is limited, and unevenly distributed. That creates bottlenecks that can be overwhelmed and exploited. For example a $100,000 bulk purchase by the Republican National Committee was enough to land Donald Trump’s book on the New York Times Bestseller List. In 2020, 17 books on the New York Times hardcover nonfiction best-seller list scored their spots by dint of bulk buys. Quality is relative and largely perceived based on accolades that come from achieving quantity. If you understand this mechanism you know if you produce enough volume you can crowd out competing ideas. Steve Bannon, the former Trump strategist, famously called this strategy “flooding the zone with shit.”
Leaving no information vacuum available for your opponents is an effective strategy than can be used by actors good or bad. Most notably it can be used to counter disinformation, as was shown by the US’s response to the Ukraine-Russia war. They declassified and proactively released intelligence information that showed Putin was planning an attack, an unusual move that discredited any attempts to provide false justification for the war. The information war ramped up from there, with Ukraine’s President Zelensky refusing to capitulate or leave the capital city, and therefore holding the high ground in the court of social media opinion. The regular citizens of Ukraine took up arms both literally in the form of AK-47s, but also figuratively in sharing photos of their defiant stand against Russian aggression. Many of the early stories like the ghost of kyiv, the old lady with sunflower seeds, the heroes of snake island, were quickly debunked, but the impression remained and the information gap filled.