One of my purposes with this website is not to create feelings of apathy due to the complexity that revolves around the topics of discussion. I am not going to change anyone’s particular point of view on anything that is personally important to them. I am just an ethnic second generation Eastern European Caucasian American male with a bachelor’s degree and lots of ‘expertise’ revolving around these topics of discussion. As my family knows, I am an avid reader of books, magazines and online articles and media. I spend around 1.5 – 2 hours a day reading whatever topic interests me at the moment. Mix this in with an old job where local, cable, and international news were constantly bombarding me with information during my eleven years in the industry. I have seen every type of media disinformation. To say that watching networks like CCTV (Chinese State Television), Al Arabiya, CNN, personalities like Sean Hannity, Rachel Maddow along with many other examples over this long timeframe has not damaged me mentally is a discussion we can have in another blog.
(Why Crispin Went Insane and Threw His Television Through His Front Door...Coming in 2023!!!)
As I begin this topic, I want to evaluate these different types of media disinformation. At Oxford University in the U.K., they have an Oxford Internet Institute that tracks global propaganda through the “Computational Propaganda Research Project.” The link to their 2019 report is here.
Here are a couple of highlights.
In terms of social media manipulation:
“Evidence of organized social media manipulation campaigns which have taken place in 70 countries, up from 48 countries in 2018 and 28 countries in 2017. In each country, there is at least one political party or government agency using social media to shape public attitudes domestically.”
Surprisingly, the platform of ‘choice’ for manipulation belongs to Facebook.
“Despite there being more social networking platforms than ever, Facebook remains the platform of choice for social media manipulation. In 56 countries, we found evidence of formally organized computational propaganda campaigns on Facebook.”
Since I am a United States citizen, the facts surrounding the manipulation of “our” public stood out to me in this report.
Table 1 says that the United States is one of the worst countries in the world for government agency and private contractor media manipulation with political parties and politicians coming in with an “above average” rating. The United States uses Twitter and Facebook as its primary social media manipulation tools. Other more authoritarian countries are much more active with other platforms.
According to Table 2, the United States uses human, bot, and cyborgs (Skynet?) to create fake accounts.
But the worst of all these facts was Table 3. The United States is one of four countries (Bosnia & Hercegovina, Brazil and Hungary are the others) that uses all five types of disinformation: pro-government propaganda, suppression of information, attacking the opposition, creating divisions in society, and distracting the public with information non-relevant to the topic.
As a person who has experienced this firsthand and has become very aware of these tactics, I absolutely agree with this report’s conclusions. I distrust any information that comes from a government agency, a large multinational corporation or an organization that has deep ties to any government. When it comes to this information, you need to analyze and validate the truth more than any other type of news that you receive. Even if it comes from the United States government. Social media tends to focus on “alternative media” and the lies of a few rogue journalistic organizations. These are dangerous and can be very influential. But I will argue that the lies coming from our governmental agencies and corporations are much more damaging to our society.
To Be Continued Next Week…With Examples…As I Go Back into my COVID-19 Bunker. Please leave comments and suggestions. I wish you all the best. Enjoy this wonderful short film from Kevin James which is hilarious and timely.
EXPERT OF SOME