cyber propaganda

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The Echo Chamber

Tuesday, May 9th 2017

I still remember a very old New Yorker cartoon showing two dogs -- one at a computer, remarking to its friend: "On the Internet, no one knows I'm a dog."

That's no longer funny in a world where robots amplify propaganda messages and can even write news stories of their own.  That Twitter handler you're following may belong to a robot ... or to a human troll contracted by a foreign power.  Samel Woolley, director of research at Oxford's Internet Institute, reports: "Security experts argue that more than 10 percent of content across social media websites, and 62 percent of all web traffic, is generated by bots."

You can read Wooley's article and a dozen others in the Public Diplomacy Advisory Commission's latest report: "Can Public Diplomacy Survive the Internet?" Today I heard former Congressman Mike Rogers and five panelists, most authors of the report, discuss the issue at the Commission's panel discussion “Echo Chambers, Artificial Intelligence, and Bot-Driven Disinformation: New Challenges in Public Diplomacy.” 

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Joe B. Johnson

Board member

 

Joe B. Johnson consults on government communication and technology after a career in the United States Foreign Service.  He is an instructor for the National Foreign Affairs Training Center, where he teaches strategic planning for public diplomacy.

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Author: Joe Johnson

Quotable: Peter Pomerantsev on the internet’s transformation of propaganda

Friday, January 29th 2016

“The internet has transformed propaganda. No longer do the state and media elites have a monopoly on public opinion—now anyone has the power to be their own Murdoch, Churchill, or Goebbels,” wrote Peter Pomerantsev in his introduction to the new Legatum Institute report in its “Beyond Propaganda” series.  “Cyber Propaganda: From how to start a revolution to how to beat ISIS,” was published in November, 2015.

 

  • The internet has transformed propaganda. No longer do the state and media elites have a monopoly on public opinion—now anyone has the power to be their own Murdoch, Churchill, or Goebbels. This has empowered both crusading dissidents and the darkest sides of the ideological spectrum, posing new challenges for how democratic governments should respond and opening up new opportunities for states willing to mess with other countries’ information environment.
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Donald M. Bishop is the Bren Chair of Strategic Communications at Marine Corps University in Quantico, Virginia. 

Mr. Bishop served as a Foreign Service Officer – first in the U.S. Information Agency and then in the Department of State – for 31 years.  Specializing in Public Diplomacy, political-military affairs, and East Asia, he attained the rank of Minister-Counselor in the career service.  He was President of the Public Diplomacy Council from 2013 to 2015 and is now a member of the Board of Directors.

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Author: Donald M. Bishop

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