online propaganda

How has propaganda changed over time? Public diplomacy's lead historian dialogues with a student to explore.

Information campaigning in various forms is as old as politics itself, and nor is it the sole province of political bogeymen. Research shows that democracies are better than autocracies at influencing foreign public opinion, and businesses, politicians and states all use the mass media strategically for their information campaigns. The names we give a particular information campaign not only reflect our inferences about its aims; they can in fact amplify its power and advance its goals.

Social media heavyweights like Facebook and YouTube have been working with the U.S. government and other international partners as they look to take a more active role in combating terrorist propaganda and other extremist messages that have gained traction online. Officials from the popular social network and YouTube parent Google addressed the issue here at a recent tech policy conference.

October 13, 2016

Social media has empowered isis recruiting, helping the group draw at least 30,000 foreign fighters, from some 100 countries, to the battlefields of Syria and Iraq. It has aided the seeding of new franchises in places ranging from Libya and Afghanistan to Nigeria and Bangladesh. It was the vehicle isis used to declare war on the United States...

The latest iteration of China’s decade-old strategy of promoting indigenous innovation, “Internet Power” signals that the Party is no longer just reactive to the existential threat of the Internet; it is now seeking to utilize it for its own economic and political ends.

The unprecedented savvy of the Islamic State — the shocking reach of its “digital caliphate” — makes this work more urgent than ever. Online, we move too slowly and know too little to combat this generation of Web-native jihadists. 

The embittered battle against ISIS is making nations rethink how to approach social media as a weapon of war. Early this month, Britain announced its plans to form a battalion of "Facebook Warriors" in effort to battle ISIS's adept skills of recruiting through the platform, and also Twitter, YouTube, and other websites.