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Month: June 2016

Direct, simple, easy to understand is best

Direct, simple, easy to understand is best

TL;DR Summary This poster uses humor and transference to get its point across. The message is simple and direct. If the target is other Democrats , it is good. If the target is Republican primary voters, it is unlikely to be successful since they likely voted for Palin. The poster was actually aimed at Democrat supporters the poster came from Occupy Democrats) – and successfully transfers their likely negative view of Palin to Scott Walker. However, only Republican voters can vote out…

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Brexit ‘2nd Referendum Petition’ said to be a prank

Brexit ‘2nd Referendum Petition’ said to be a prank

The petition that was supposedly blasting through 3 million signatures 3 days after the Brexit vote, is acknowledged to have been filled with fraudulent signatures added by bots. Source: EXCLUSIVE: Brexit ‘2nd Referendum Petition’ A 4 Chan Prank: BBC Report It As Real | Heat Street The BBC has updated their news report to indicate the petition may contain “suspicious activity” and that fraudulently added signatures have been identified. Fake news runs rampant thanks to social media enabling anyone and everyone to become…

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Euroskepticism is widespread in Europe

Euroskepticism is widespread in Europe

In the U.S. the propagandists are out in force, spinning the British non-binding referendum election vote to leave the EU. The main propaganda messages in the U.S. are: The Brits who voted for the EU split are stupid, uneducated, unsophisticated, old white people. The Brits who voted for the EU are racist xenophobes (and have the same qualities as #1 too) Update: Breathless news reports noted a spike in UK residents searching for “What is the EU?” on Google, according to…

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Google shown to engage in censorship of online content

Google shown to engage in censorship of online content

Google – the online search gateway to nearly all information today – engages in widespread censorship, including political censorship, says US News. Censorship is a strict form of propaganda, to prevent you from obtaining alternative viewpoints or perspectives. How did Google become the internet’s censor and master manipulator, blocking access to millions of websites? Source: Google Is the World’s Biggest Censor and Its Power Must Be Regulated We now know that most social media (Facebook, Twitter and Reddit specifically) routinely…

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A surprising System 1 style response to a social media propaganda meme

A surprising System 1 style response to a social media propaganda meme

Most highly successful social media propaganda is visual, has few words, and is processed within seconds by the intended target, Liked and Shared, passing along the message to others. This is our System 1 quick, easy, intuitive thinking style in operation. In other words, we do not think, we respond at a gut or emotional level. Much propaganda messaging can only be countered, typically, with logic and facts, which requires, slow thinking (System 2), which is hard and thus the…

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Social media peer pressure enforces conformity to group norms

Social media peer pressure enforces conformity to group norms

If you want the tl;dr response, stop here: social media is a pretty effective mechanism for peer pressure. If you disagree, please consider how many temporary profile pictures have been updated on Facebook to red, white, and blue in the wake of the horrific attacks in Paris (including perhaps your own). We know that online peer pressure is powerful. But what we don’t know is whether that pressure is driving real change. Sharing your opinions and thoughts online is as simple as clicking…

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Social media platforms degenerate from trivia to propaganda and censorship

Social media platforms degenerate from trivia to propaganda and censorship

If you have followed this blog, you understand social media has become a frictionless conduit for the spread of propaganda. Propaganda is messaging intended to encourage a target to take some action. There are two sides to propaganda messaging – those promoting a propaganda message and those with opposing views. The strongest form of opposition is when platform operators directly censor third-party opinions. Normally, the answer to speech someone disagrees with, is more speech, not censorship. Today, Reddit censored comments from those quoting…

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Unknown conservative group creates fake poster to spread untrue meme

Unknown conservative group creates fake poster to spread untrue meme

TL;DR Summary Photo allegedly shows injuries to a female Trump supporter after violent protests against Trump at a Trump campaign rally. The photo is actually a test photo of an actress, after injury makeup was applied, as part of a movie production. The photo has nothing to do with a Trump rally. The photo was distributed by a small Facebook page called “Conservative Nation” (the post has apparently been removed) and was then shared thousands of time online.   Photos are “re-purposed”…

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General Patton and yet another fake historical quote

General Patton and yet another fake historical quote

TL;DR Summary Patton said “Liberal democrats are the lowest form of politicians”. No, very, very unlikely he said that. It appears to be a combination of a quote from Patton (the first sentence) and a modified quote from President Harry S Truman (second sentence) who made a similar comment 4 years after Patton died. This version of the poster (there are many versions) originates on a Facebook page titled “The Truth has no agenda” which is a conservative page with an…

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Social media viral nonsense and the story that never ends

Social media viral nonsense and the story that never ends

TL;DR Summary Photo purports to show the ejection of a USAF Thunderbird pilot in Smyrna, TN in early June 2016. This photo had, in moments, been shared nearly 8,000 times on FB. The photo is actually from a USAF crash in Mountain Home, ID in 2003 and the photo was taken by a USAF Airman. You can read about that actual incident here. No one questioned the truthfulness of the photo – yet it took just seconds to locate the…

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Iceland poster uses true statements to lead you to believe a false conclusion

Iceland poster uses true statements to lead you to believe a false conclusion

TL;DR Summary This is a popular type of propaganda poster on social media: the poster features many claims pasted over a photo, allegedly presenting the evidence for a conclusion. The conclusion is false but most of the statements are true. Since the target may recognize some items as true, our quick System 1 thinking engages and assumes the false items are also true because they sound plausible. Of course, this sleight of hand has produced a logical fallacy that is easy to…

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Users abandoning social media apps

Users abandoning social media apps

Year over year usage of social media platforms, through social media apps, is plummeting. Of all four major platforms, there has been a 9% decrease in the number of installed apps, year over year (some are up and some are down). People are spending less time using social media apps, a new study from marketing intelligence firm SimilarWeb found. Source: People are spending much less time on social media apps, said report. These changes might be because users are concerned…

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How Russia uses social media for propaganda (We do too!)

How Russia uses social media for propaganda (We do too!)

“Russia’s campaign to shape international opinion around its invasion of Ukraine has extended to recruiting and training a new cadre of online trolls that have been deployed to spread the Kremlin’s message on the comments section of top American websites.” Source: Documents Show How Russia’s Troll Army Hit America – BuzzFeed News The United States government also does this. Remember back in the fall of 2013 when many of us had our health insurance policies canceled? These were the policies…

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