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“This is an age of propaganda. Throughout the world, states, groups and individuals are utilizing and manipulating digital platforms to spread false information, sway public opinion and undermine social cohesion. While the methods of propaganda have changed in the digital age, substituting the radio with Facebook, its objectives have remained remarkably similar. First, digital propaganda is used to erode social cohesion. By focusing on various contentious issues, states and groups use social media sites to target disenfranchised minorities, amplify divisive social issues and drive social frustration. This form of propaganda was extensively used during the 2016 US presidential elections when Russian Facebook ads targeting African Americans focused on police brutality and the death of young African Americans at the hands of white police officers.
Digital propaganda is also used to spread false information, thereby shaping people’s understanding of current events. The Crimean crisis of 2014 illustrated this aptly, as fictitious news sites argued that Ukrainian nationalists had created concentration camps for the detention and torture of Russian minorities. Both Ukrainians and Russians following these news sites soon found themselves existing in an alternate digital reality in which Russia was completely justified in its attempts to safeguard the lives of Russian minorities in Crimea.
Yet digital propaganda does not always rely on proactive means to manipulate social media platforms and capture the attention of online audiences. Rather, it can be responsive.
Particularly, when those responding are designated trolls, employed to spam public forums and overload comments sections with misleading information or impassioned messages. These activities pose a considerable challenge as they prevent individuals from assessing the national temperament. An individual may read the comments section of a news site only to discover that the majority of readers are supposedly in favor of a certain policy, such as the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union. This individual may then also come to support this policy as humans wish to belong to the majority. In this manner, public opinion and national policies also fall prey to digital propaganda.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"The likely successor to British Prime Minister Theresa May, Boris Johnson, has plans to subsume the government department overseeing development aid into the foreign office, effectively eliminating it. That will destroy a post-Brexit United..."
"Gerard Baker, editor-at-large at the Wall Street Journal (no reflexively anti-Trump publication) recently wrote a piece decrying Donald Trump and his foreign policy as a fount of erratic unpredictability. This essay will give the counter view...."
"On Wednesday, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar announced that she will be visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories in the coming weeks. Omar will be accompanied by Rep. Rashida Tlaib. The two freshman congresswomen have become a focal point of..."
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"A few years ago, Amy Balliett, CEO of a Seattle-based design and marketing firm, noticed that as the work week slogged on, her employees’ energy and productivity wilted. “That would slump to such an extent that the same task on Monday would..."
"Over the last few days the #faceappchallenge has taken over social media. This “challenge” involves downloading a selfie-editing tool called FaceApp and using one of its filters to digitally age your face. You then post the photo of your wizened..."
"Although there are plenty of irrational aspects to life in modern America, few rival the odd fixation on lawns. Fertilizing, mowing, watering — these are all-American activities that, on their face, seem reasonable enough. But to spend hundreds..."
"Can a book change the way we think? I don’t mean that in the sense of a reader’s opinion or ideology shifting—of course the right literary work can do that. But can a book rewire the brain itself, literally changing the way one particular mind..."
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"Magali Trejo-Martinez, a 22-year-old living in Salem, Oregon, recently went on a date that was rather uninspiring. “I had dinner, had a couple margaritas, and then went home,” is how she recapped the evening. This outcome wasn’t entirely..."
"The first lunar landing was many things — a D-Day-like feat of planning and logistics, a testament to the power of man's will, an ostensible propaganda coup for NATO. It was also, I think, one of the most misunderstood events in the history of..."
"THE FIRST TIME Bernie Sanders ran for president, he didn’t talk much about being Jewish. In fact, he didn’t talk much about himself at all. His 2016 primary campaign, like his whole political career, was relentlessly focused on one topic: income..."