Politics

Tackling Information Operations, Propaganda and Dark Advertising: It’s not all Fake News

It’s all fake news anyway! 

Fake news is in the news. It's been headline activity ever since Trump helped propagate it within his ongoing media ramblings. Used now by him and his entourage of bewildered future inmates it has become a distraction technique during and after his presidential campaign. Having now successfully driven the narrative in order to be able to deflect anything that is said negatively about him, even by his beloved Fox News, as a five-year-old in a supermarket meltdown.  

Ask him about his taxes and he deflects. Ask him how half of his campaign staff have now ended up in jail or anything else that does not put him in a good light and he will castigate it as fake news in a game of "I know you are but what am I?" 

In fact, “fake news” has now become a catchall statement for anyone who doesn't really know what they are talking about or can't counterargue with facts to use when they do not like something or when a news report does not support their particular standpoint. It's far easier to simply label something as false news than do the research and take a reasoned articulated approach with righteous and pompous indignation. To add to this dilemma is that there has been a noticeable and significant increase in false news sites and a need for fact-checking both news stories and politicians' statements.  

Unfortunately, we do not have a political standards agency as we do for advertising that can hold politicians accountable for the lies they tell. 

You could refer to this post as fake news if you don’t like its content, and who knows it might even be.  

It’s not just about fake news: Information Operations 

The issue is that focusing on “fake news” alone distracts from the wider narratives propagated by Information Operations around the world. Yes it is an issue and it has been used by many “bad actors” to make false claims, promote agendas and distract from the truth. Some of these by “rogue states” or as acts of cyberwarfare, but only going after and chasing “fake news” misses out the tackling of content, narratives and whilst not necessarily fake promote disruptive agendas.  

Content does not necessarily have to be fake to be used by Information Operations. Often it can be opinion pieces or advertising that doesn’t make any statements that could be labelled as true or false but could be of one political bias or of a propagandist nature.  

It can also be in the form of curating legitimate content from trusted sources to promote a certain narrative. The new Demos report “Warring Songs: Information Operations in the Digital Age” goes into detail about the definition of Information Operations and some of the tactics they use. It looks at how we might tackle these techniques and tactics but first suggests we need to push past the narrative of only focusing on fake news. We will be expanding on this report later but it is certainly worth a read. 

Dark Advertising  

Together with fake news and information operations we would do well to consider dark advertising. Not only from these “bad actors” and Strategic Information Operations but also from media, big business, academia and politics.  

Dark Advertising, as it sounds, is the areas of digital, or direct, advertising that is particularly manipulative by its nature. It is usually targeted at the vulnerable and/or poorer population.  

In her book Weapons of Math Destruction, Cathy O’Neill describes dark advertising as “ads that pinpoint people in great need and sell them false or overpriced promises. They find inequality and feast on it.” She goes on to state “Anywhere you see a great need and ignorance you’ll likely to see predatory ads.” O’Neill is here talking largely about academic advertising by both for profit and not for profit colleges that encourage vulnerable people to sign up to large student loans under the guise of ‘picking themselves up out of their current socio-economic situation by gaining a degree etc.’  

What’s wrong with that you may ask? Well, it’s the targeting of people who are ‘isolated’, ‘stuck’, ‘of low self-esteem’, ‘pregnant ladies’, ‘mothers on welfare’ people in ‘low-income jobs’, ‘recently experienced a death’, ‘have been physically or mentally abused’ the list goes on. 

Let me just reiterate here, what she is describing is a so-called ‘Academic Institution’ targeting people, vulnerable people, when they are at their most vulnerable because they know they are more likely to make emotionally based decisions. 

If this is what the education industry is doing, we can only imagine the length that Information Operations, politics and big business are going to, we only have to look at Cambridge Analytica for some insight to this.  

What about legislation? 

If we think our governments are going to step in and put down legislation that protects the average voter and consumer, to protect the vulnerable, just consider the fact that the previously mention Demos report states that of the 39 Information Operations they analysed 34 were aligned with a government of which 24 focused on internal audiences, that is audiences within their own country.  

We have to question that when governments, like the UK, have plans to address “online harms” what they define as “harm” and the impacts this has on freedoms of expression and free speech. We have to question do they purely focus on the online bully, fake news, fraud, terrorism and so on or do they also tackle Information Operations and dark advertising, do they include themselves, their behavioural insights team and their political campaigns within these plans.  

 

If fake news has done anything positive it has at least but people’s minds to question some of what they read and hear. Moving people on from here to critical thinking and analysis is surely the next, very challenging, step.  

 

---------------

 

168148.gif

Why not join SleeplessDystopian.com today and become part of the conversation that challenges digital ecosystems, and the messages that are propagated through them.

If you like what we are doing here you can share this and other content on social media, the buttons are at the top of the page or you can donate/support via subscription

This social blogging and article site, community and forum are brought to you by iLife Media @ www.behaviouralmarketinginsights.com promoting social and behavioural change through better communication as well as digital, direct and data-driven marketing.

 

Our aim is to provide free and easy access digital, direct and data-driven marketing insights, behavioural and social insights from industry to those looking to make a positive change in the world. Whether it be charities or not for profits, activists or social enterprises our aim is to help you to learn to tools, techniques, technologies and insights that will give you maximum impact. 

 

If you like what we are doing here there are currently three ways to help us. 

  1. You can support us through the, Support Us tab above, 
  2. If you are in business, in the UK and looking for finance then try the option below. If you like what the Business Lending Exchange has to offer when they call you back and you sign up with them, we get a commission, it’s that simple. 
  3. If you cannot financially support us you can always share our content on social media  

If you are looking for asset re-finance, business or personal loans or subprime finance and you like what we are doing on this site, you can also help support us by using the below money engine from the Business Lending Exchange. 

 

 

Image for this article source

 Pexels.com

CC0 License

✓ Free for personal and commercial use

✓ No attribution required

 

 

 

 

This article was written by Sam our Founder, Editor and Chief Behavioural Marketing Anarchist. Sam is an SEO Analyst & Data-Driven Marketing Strategist based in Telford, Shropshire in the UK.

Here he is a Writer on Behavioural Insights, Media, Communications, Data Science & Marketing Technology. Keeping a watchful eye and investigating the misuse of technology and behavioural science by big business, media, and politicians in manipulating online narratives to sway public opinion. All opinions are his own. :

All images on this site used under CC0 License
✓ Free for personal and commercial use
✓ No attribution required, however, we try to contribute to the artist if known.

Join our social community today! Be part of the conversation.

We have a wealth of digital, direct and data-driven marketing content for people looking to shape change by setting up their own business, social enterprise or cause. Membership is free and all we ask in turn is that you be part of the conversation with an aim to shaping positive change in the world. 

Sam posted a video
This shit is nuts, feels so right and the dawn of something amazing. I just bought his Book on Audible
We have no clue how consciousness emerges from 3 pounds of wet goo. Cognitive scientist Don Hoffman takes us deep into his research suggesting we…
Nov 27
Sam published an article
The initial onslaught of hype, panic and surge in consultants offering advice on GDPR up to its official launch in May 2018 certainly made it feel, to marketers at least, like a massive constraint in marketing. We had just gotten used to phrases suc…
Nov 24
Sam and Adude Fafe Akue are now friends
Nov 20
Adude Fafe Akue updated their profile
Nov 20
Sam posted a video
Deepfakes: this deep fake video wants to warn you about deep fakes. With a general election just around the corner, it is crucial that people not only recognise how easy it is to be fooled by this kind of technology but also need to be reminded to c…
Nov 19
Adude Fafe Akue and NewHumanNewEarth joined Sleepless Dystopian
Nov 19
Sam published an article
It is polling time again soon in the UK and who are you going to vote for? Do you know? Have you made up your mind? Or are you going to listen to what's said and make and “informed decision?” 
Is that even possible in today’s world? Can you make sen…
Nov 18
Sam published articles
Sep 24
Sam posted videos
Sep 19
Editorial Team published an article
Are you a chess player that wants to take it to the next level? Think you're a chessmaster? Now you can find out with free downloads online.
There are several websites that offer free downloads. Some of the websites are www.playfirst.com, directgame…
Sep 14
Sam published an article
Our words matter.
In fact, they are paramount.
The words we choose to speak, listen to and tell ourselves shape the narratives of our lives and the lives around us. Words and the narratives they form shape society and indeed the world.
Through your…
Sep 10
Editorial Team published an article
What is a Great Free Online Data Storage Site for Home Use?
In light of the recent increase in data storage for business consumers, there are also quite a few free online data storage sites opening up for the average computer user who needs to make…
Sep 7
Editorial Team published an article
Now that you are making your own homemade beer, you should begin to look for beer clubs in your area. Maybe even start your own.
Networking is the key to success in any venture and beer clubs are a great way to get together with fellow homebrewers.…
Sep 1
Sam posted a blog post
I have so much to say right now with everything going on in the world and the disinformation and cognitive propaganda machines in full swing. 
Unfortunately between working around 60 hours a week, studying for my postgrad in data-driven marketing an…
Aug 29
Sam posted a video
What can we trust? Why is the 'information ecology' so damaged, and what would it take to make it healthy? This is a fundamental question, because without good sensemaking, we cannot even begin to act in the world.
It is also a central concern in wh…
Aug 29
Sam published an article
More and more people are trying to lose weight the natural way. This often means by controlling their diet and following a good exercise program. But along with these weight loss ideas many people are desperately looking for other answer to speed up…
Aug 25
More…