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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
"China’s Hydrogen economy Is coming: The world’s electric-vehicle king is seeking leadership in fuel cells, too. Investors are probably right to be excited."
"It would be the height of naivete to believe the book is closed. Democrats on Capitol Hill are not just going to take the attorney general's conclusions and move on to new things."
"Netanyahu has brazenly allied himself with Trump’s Administration and his family (including the cryptic peace negotiator, Jared Kushner, whose family he has known for years), as well as with the Republican Party and Republican funders..."
"Us is stranger than Get Out, with deeper philosophical undercurrents flowing through it. The rabbit that greets you at the movie’s start is an invitation. Will you follow, like Alice in her Wonderland?"
"Democrats and Republicans seem to have irreconcilable views on economics, but on one point they agree: Small business is better than big."
"Sanctuary, a digital astrology start-up backed by $1.5 million in venture capital, made the considered decision to launch its service on Wednesday — the dawn of the new astrological year, when Pisces gives way to Aries in the astral cycle."
"It is a Vessel for the depths of architectural cynicism, of form without ideology and without substance: an architectural practice that puts the commodifiable image above all else, including the social good..."
"Apartment Therapy posted a photo to Instagram of a bookshelf with the spines facing inward, and the dramatic response — dozens of users denouncing the trend as anti-intellectual, even comparing it to book-burning ..."
"Perhaps it is time to add parenting to the growing list of “replacement religions” competing for our attention and currency these days, a list that already includes workism and politics."
"Only a fraction of the world’s yeast species have been discovered. The ones still out there could revolutionize health care, green energy, and beer."
"We’ve recently fixated on expunging “fake news” but the medical world also has its charlatans. The snake-oil salespeople, masquerading as health professionals, are naturopaths."
"...should we continue to teach thinkers like Kant, Voltaire and Hume without mention of the harmful prejudices they helped legitimize?"