Monday, April 9, 2018

Diplomacy has been 'weaponized' with memes, trolling, online polls

Alastair Jamieson,

Image from article, with caption: Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California.

Coming in the wake of fake news factories and troll farms, the tactics are the latest way public trust in official information is eroded.

Researchers say that while some governments are using social media transparently to streamline their message, others are engaged in covert disinformation campaigns that disrupt traditional foreign relations.
“There is a now a sense that public diplomacy has become weaponized,” said Jan Melissen, a professor of diplomacy at the University of Antwerp and a senior research fellow at the Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael. “These technologies are being used in ways that we didn’t anticipate.”


It is a far cry from the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011 when campaigners used Facebook to mobilize grassroots pro-democracy protests in repressive Middle Eastern countries.
Corneliu Bjola, an associate professor of diplomatic studies at the University of Oxford and head of the Oxford Digital Diplomacy Research Group, said the poisoning of Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal highlighted the extent of online statecraft.
According to Bjola, methods of online diplomacy include:

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