Considering that the 2015 US election and 2016 Brexit referendum upsets, foreign influence on democratic elections has turned into a hot topic. On John Oliver’s The other day Tonight, a segment explained the simplicity tampering with voting machines which inspired me to write down this post. Before I get into how simple and easy , inexpensive it really is to propagate disinformation on the net, I’d like provide some background on why and exactly how more nations is going to be entering the digital warfare space from the coming years.
Foundations of Geopolitics, a book drafted from the International Department in the Russian Ministry of Defence back 1997, paved the way like a philosophical instructions manual for dismantling and dethroning enemies and super-powers alike, with the ultimate goal of “Finlandization” like Europe. According to Wikipedia’s summary around the strategy:
“Military operations play relatively little role. The textbook advocates a sophisticated program of subversion, destabilization, and disinformation spearheaded from the Russia special services.”
During the 2015 US election along with a meagre monthly budget of just $1.25M (estimated $15M a year), Russia’s Research Agency surely could provide you with the US election towards the Republican Party. Regarding return-on-investment (ROI), Russia spends $36M per Mi-35 helicopter. It is no wonder then, that as Russia gains more territory and influence, its actual military spending is decreasing.
Military power is clearly a very costly ongoing expense where destabilization is fairly cheap and plentiful. But exactly how is done?
Tactic 1: Discover the Fractures Then Divide & Conquer
While using the instance of the US, this fracturing tactic was exquisitely executed by fuelling instability and actively supporting all dissident groups simultaneously to inflame tensions and divide communities. Enemies of america have already been fanning the flames of white nationalism, gun rights groups, stoking anti-immigration sentiment and also the vilification of refugees and Muslims are already most visible. Yet this only scratches the outer lining.
But more subtle and vicious domestic attacks come in support of fringe and other right-wing religious groups attacking women’s reproductive rights, gay marriage equality, homelessness and mental health.
We are seeing generational divisiveness growing between Baby Boomers and Millennials. There is a growing demonization of environmental stewardship (see baseless attacks along with other trolling of Greta Thunberg) and attacks on democratically-held values in general.
Long-term, inter-generational damage through the exploitation of such existing divides is seen inside the gutting of the usa education system, diminishing access to healthcare for those, ballooning deficits that our children and grandchildren is going to be saddled down by are just some of the long-term consequences to be gone through by this surprisingly inexpensive destabilization warfare technique.
What were once cracks in the overarching national unity are becoming red line fractures within an artificially created, cold civil war. The majority are now asking that which was implemented to exploit these existing social divides?
Tactic 2: Leverage the digital age intersection between behavioural economics, social networking loopholes and the relative easy search results exploitation
As being a digital strategist and online marketer We have observed that lots of the tactics offered to civilians were modified to get weaponized against competing nations. Boosting social media marketing reach on divisive posts and influencers gave fringe groups an incorrect sense that they can held popular yet controversial views.
Social networking has a lot of loopholes which I often share to my web marketer followings so they can read more bang for their buck with clients. It’s remember this social websites platforms’ #1 goal is to help you stay for the platform as long as possible so they can make ad revenue. Money by displaying content they think help keep you on a small bit longer. All of them are literally designed at some level to be addictive to all of us.
I discuss inside my marketing content various exploitation opportunties that trick these social platforms into thinking your site content is viral by fooling the algorithm they count on to distribute to users.
As an example, with lower than $100 I will buy 10,000 twitter followers, automatically getting 1,000 retweets and favourites on 10 posts. For $100 of paid ads on twitter, you barely have any results. That’s because Twitter under-reports bot activity so that you can convince its shareholders this website engagement is growing. It’s not merely Twitter – Facebook, Instagram, Youtube (Google), Snapchat as well as Linkedin all have exactly the same fundamental vulnerability. It has become quite simple to give false social proof to almost anything.
Humans are hardwired with cognitive biases which are easily and often exploited by social media marketing platforms and search engines to make us feel that the situation is more (or fewer) popular than they really are. Increasingly we seem to be getting stuck inside our own social echo chambers and believe most of the people see things the same as us.
There are legitimate grievances across the US economy like job losses from globalization and artificial intelligence causing increased economic inequality. But People in america were manipulated and sentiment hijacked by populist narratives for being the victim with the government, elites, experts, Democrats, Mexicans, Muslims, and foreign allies.
Tactic 3: Erode Trust & Global Alliances
What’s worse, not just was desire to achieved to destabilize the US by facilitating the turning of the nation on itself, but also have its internal damage bleed Anti-Americanism into US-global relations. The surprise betrayal of the American-Kurd alliance could have lasting consequences on American credibility, leaving American soldiers and civilians more prone than ever.
France, the foremost and the oldest international ally of the usa, is questioning simply how much it might rely on america following the abrupt pulling people forces from Northern Syria without any consultations from NATO partners. As reported by the BBC,
“Russia, which sees Nato as a threat to its security, welcomes france president’s comments as “truthful words.””
It’s tough to say when exactly this second Cold War started, one thing is for sure: we’re woefully happy to defend ourselves from disinformation and have been taught to avoid difficult political conversations.
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