Best Of The Web
“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 Picks
"Not even what one might think of as the most basic tenet of any religion, a belief in the existence of God, is a prerequisite: Agnosticism is a key principle of at least one major school of Hindu philosophy."
"The presidency of any particular incumbent is relatively short... but the precedential consequences of impeaching a president without complying with the specific provisions of the Constitution “as it was written” are enduring."
"After news that a judge allegedly provided sexual favors to Bar Association president Efi Nave in exchange for her appointment, several politicians said in their responses that the Judicial Selection Committee needed to be the “Holy of Holies.”"
"Two new documentaries take on Billy McFarland and his disastrous music festival... the secret villain of this story all along: the subtle menace of social media marketing."
"Eating out, ordering in. Throw in a bagel here, a coffee there, and it all adds up. "It's definitely a challenge for people my age to save on food.""
"Popular music is shrinking. From 2013 to 2018, the average song on the Billboard Hot 100 fell from 3 minutes and 50 seconds to about 3 minutes and 30 seconds. "
"Here in the good old U.S. of A, the third annual Women's March planned for Jan. 19 is in serious trouble, thanks to irreconcilable political disagreements."
"Nature, however, with its endless cycles of death and rebirth, fascinated her. Walking in the woods, she developed a method that has become the hallmark of her poetry, taking notice simply of whatever happens to present itself."
"Modern parents haven’t stopped playing favorites; they’ve just stopped doing it openly. Though few parents today will admit they have a favorite child, studies indicate that about two-thirds of parents do."
"The first science-based diet that tackles both the poor food eaten by billions of people and averts global environmental catastrophe has been devised."
"Sphen and Magic looked like they would make great, diligent, careful egg-warming parents. They made the biggest nest, and they sat on it constantly."
"How YMHAs, followed by synagogue-centers, and finally JCCs have tried—in different ways—to balance Judaism and Jewishness, by bringing Jews together in intellectual, spiritual, and physical pursuits"