Since the 2015 US election and 2016 Brexit referendum upsets, foreign influence on democratic elections has developed into a hot topic. On John Oliver’s Yesterday Tonight, a segment explained the ease of tampering with voting machines which inspired me to create this informative article. Before I get into how basic and inexpensive it's to propagate disinformation online, I’d like provide some background on why and the way more nations will probably be entering a digital warfare space within the future years.
Foundations of Geopolitics, the sunday paper drafted with the International Department from the Russian Ministry of Defence back in 1997, paved the way like a philosophical instructions manual for dismantling and dethroning enemies and super-powers alike, with the ultimate objective of “Finlandization” like Europe. Based on Wikipedia’s summary for the strategy:
“Military operations play relatively little role. The textbook advocates a sophisticated program of subversion, destabilization, and disinformation spearheaded with the Russia special services.”
During the 2015 US election sufficient reason for a meagre monthly budget of just $1.25M (estimated $15M per year), Russia’s Investigations Agency might deliver the US election on the Republican Party. In terms of return-on-investment (ROI), Russia spends $36M per Mi-35 helicopter. It is no surprise then, that as Russia gains more territory and influence, its actual military spending is decreasing.
Military power is clearly an extremely costly ongoing expense where destabilization is relatively cheap and plentiful. But how exactly is that this done?
Tactic 1: Obtain the Fractures Then Divide & Conquer
While using the instance of america, 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 as well as the vilification of refugees and Muslims have already been most visible. Yet this only scratches the surface.
But more subtle and vicious domestic attacks have been in support of fringe as well as other right-wing religious groups attacking women’s reproductive rights, gay marriage equality, homelessness and mental health.
We are seeing generational divisiveness growing between Seniors and Millennials. There exists a growing demonization of environmental stewardship (see baseless attacks and other trolling of Greta Thunberg) and attacks on democratically-held values in general.
Long-term, inter-generational damage from your exploitation of those existing divides sometimes appears within the gutting of america education system, diminishing entry to healthcare for those, ballooning deficits that our children and grandchildren is going to be saddled down by a few of the long-term consequences to be experienced this surprisingly inexpensive destabilization warfare technique.
What were once cracks within an overarching national unity are getting to be red line fractures in an artificially created, cold civil war. Most are now asking what was completed to exploit these existing social divides?
Tactic 2: Leverage the digital age intersection between behavioural economics, social websites loopholes and the relative simple internet search engine exploitation
As a digital strategist and internet-based marketer I've observed that lots of the tactics offered to civilians were modified to be weaponized against competing nations. Boosting social media marketing reach on divisive posts and influencers gave fringe groups a false sense that they can held popular yet controversial views.
Social media has many loopholes which I often share to my internet marketer followings for them to get more bang because of their buck with clients. It’s important to remember social websites platforms’ #1 goal is always to make you stay about the platform so long as possible to allow them to make ad revenue. This is done by demonstrating content believe that can keep you on just a little bit longer. All are literally designed at some level to become addictive to us.
I discuss within my marketing content various exploitation opportunties that trick these social platforms into thinking your articles is viral by fooling the algorithm they depend on to distribute to users.
As an example, with under $100 I'm able to buy 10,000 twitter followers, automatically getting 1,000 retweets and favourites on 10 posts. For $100 of paid ads on twitter, you barely get any results. That’s because Twitter under-reports bot activity to be able to convince its shareholders this website engagement is increasing. It’s not just Twitter - Facebook, Instagram, Youtube (Google), Snapchat and even Linkedin have the ability to exactly the same fundamental vulnerability. It may be very easy to present false social proof to just about anything.
Humans are hardwired with cognitive biases which can be easily and often exploited by social websites platforms and check engines to generate us believe that things are more (or less) popular compared to they truly are. Increasingly we are most often getting stuck in our own social echo chambers and believe many people see things similar to us.
There are legitimate grievances across the US economy like job losses from globalization and artificial intelligence producing increased economic inequality. But Us residents were manipulated and sentiment hijacked by populist narratives of being the victim with the government, elites, experts, Democrats, Mexicans, Muslims, and foreign allies.
Tactic 3: Erode Trust & Global Alliances
What’s worse, not simply was the goal achieved to destabilize america by facilitating the turning of your nation on itself, and also have its internal damage bleed Anti-Americanism into US-global relations. The surprise betrayal with the American-Kurd alliance can have lasting consequences on American credibility, leaving American soldiers and civilians more vulnerable than ever.
France, creation the oldest international ally of the United States, is currently questioning simply how much it may rely on america following the abrupt pulling of US forces from Northern Syria without consultations from NATO partners. As reported by the BBC,
“Russia, which sees Nato like a threat towards the security, welcomes the French president’s comments as “truthful words.””
It’s tough to say when exactly this second Cold War started, but one thing is for sure: we’re woefully happy to defend ourselves from disinformation and possess been taught to stop difficult political conversations.
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