As investigations into attempts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election continue, more aspects of Russia’s approach to information warfare are coming to light. A steady stream of new disclosures is revealing a complex blend of hacking, public disclosures of private emails, and use of bots, trolls, and targeted advertising on social media designed to interfere in political processes and heighten societal tensions.
Normalisation Campaigns do not Prevent Radical Online Cultures: Avoid the Pitfalls of Counter-Narratives
- Only use counter-narratives when objectives, target groups, and success criteria from the start can be described precisely and in detail
- Do not base counter-narratives on the notion that it is possible to describe ‘facts’ about reality, but instead address feelings, dreams, and opinions that youths can relate to
- Do not use campaigns that promote normality as a positive alternative to radicalism
Counter-narratives and campaigns promoting normality, are often highlighted as universal means against online propaganda from militant movements. However, such campaigns are driven by a number of unfortunate assumptions and are difficult to apply in practice.
We often turn to information campaigns to inform and instruct the general population. Such campaigns are also pointed to as possible tools, to combat radical and militant counter-cultures on the internet. However, reaching broad segments of the population is one thing. It is more challenging, to direct communication at a smaller audience, which cannot immediately be identified and defined, such as vulnerable youths, radicalised individuals, ideological deviants, violent extremists, foreign fighters, etc.
NEW YORK – A surprising number of elections and political transitions is scheduled to occur over the coming months. An incomplete list includes Russia, China, France, the United States, Egypt, Mexico, and South Korea.
At first glance, these countries have little in common. Some are well-established democracies; some are authoritarian systems; and others are somewhere in between. Yet, for all of their differences, these governments – and the individuals who will lead them – face many of the same challenges. Three stand out.
The first is that no country is entirely its own master. In today’s world, no country enjoys total autonomy or independence. To one degree or another, all depend on access to foreign markets to sell their manufactured goods, agricultural products, resources, or services – or to supply them. None can eliminate economic competition with others over access to third-country markets. Many countries require capital inflows to finance investment or official debt. Global supply and demand largely set oil and gas prices. Economic interdependence and the vulnerability associated with it is an inescapable fact of contemporary life. » More
Nomen est omen; the pirates have taken Berlin by storm. Although SPD’s Klaus Wowereit was comfortably re-elected as Berlin’s mayor, the strong showing of Germany’s newest addition to a state parliament has taken many by surprise. The pirate party, dedicated to free information and privacy protection, has won 8.9% of the votes. By comparison, the FDP – a junior partner in Angela Merkel’s government – has been completely kicked out.
Though concerned about the results, most established parties shrug the events off as a form of political protest, and describe the party as anything from ‘non-serious’ to ‘meaningless’. Unfortunately, they’re missing what Berlin’s youth has been trying to say.
Freedom of information and privacy issues on the net affect many voters directly. For a long time, Germany’s elite has been ignoring the important role of the internet in many of its citizens’ lives. When they finally touched upon the issue, it made ‘Generation Net’ worry even more. To internet activists, the prospects of telecommunications data retention felt like a 2.0 version of 1984.
Of course some of the party’s demands seem extreme, and their leaders still have to prove that they are committed to playing a constructive role in day-to-day politics. But whatever the future holds: instead of belittling the pirates, the bigger parties had better work out their own positions on a complex issue that concerns far more than 8.9% of the electorate.
Access to information is no longer the main problem. Today’s challenge is managing the information that’s out there. For almost two decades, the ISN has been dedicated to promote information management and knowledge sharing in the area of international relations and security. We are striving to integrate original current affairs analysis with existing background publications and policy briefs. We offer you a wealth of free, high-quality information services, but we know that we don’t always present it in the best way possible. That’s where we need your help.
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