• Ochoa Prince posted an update 2 weeks, 3 days ago

    Considering that the 2015 US election and 2016 Brexit referendum upsets, foreign impact on democratic elections has become a hot topic. On John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight, a segment explained the ease of tampering with voting machines which inspired me to write down this article. Before I get into how simple and inexpensive it really is to propagate disinformation on the web, I’d like provide some background on why and just how more nations will likely be entering digital warfare space within the future years.

    Foundations of Geopolitics, a magazine drafted by the International Department from the Russian Ministry of Defence in 1997, led the way like a philosophical instructions manual for dismantling and dethroning enemies and super-powers alike, with the ultimate purpose of “Finlandization” for all of Europe. As outlined by Wikipedia’s summary about the strategy:

    “Military operations play relatively little role. The textbook advocates an advanced 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 Internet Research Agency could deliver the US election towards 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 expenses are decreasing.

    Military power is clearly a really costly ongoing expense where destabilization is relatively cheap and plentiful. But exactly how is done?

    Tactic 1: Find The Fractures Then Divide & Conquer

    Using the illustration of the united states, this fracturing tactic was exquisitely executed by fuelling instability and actively supporting all dissident groups simultaneously to inflame tensions and divide communities. Enemies of the USA have been fanning the flames of white nationalism, gun rights groups, stoking anti-immigration sentiment along with the vilification of refugees and Muslims are already most visible. Yet this only scratches the outer lining.

    But more subtle and vicious domestic attacks have been around 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 and also other trolling of Greta Thunberg) and attacks on democratically-held values normally.

    Long-term, inter-generational damage from your exploitation of such existing divides is observed in the gutting of america education system, diminishing access to healthcare for all those, ballooning deficits that our children and grandchildren will be saddled down by a few of the long-term consequences to get felt by this surprisingly inexpensive destabilization warfare technique.

    What were once cracks within an overarching national unity are getting to be red line fractures within an artificially created, cold civil war. Many are now asking that which was completed to exploit these existing social divides?

    Tactic 2: Leverage the digital age intersection between behavioural economics, social media loopholes and the relative easy google search exploitation

    Being a digital strategist and online marketer I have observed that many of the tactics accessible to civilians were modified being weaponized against competing nations. Boosting social websites reach on divisive posts and influencers gave fringe groups a false sense that they can held popular yet controversial views.

    Social networking provides extensive loopholes that i often share to my affiliate marketer followings so they can get more bang for buck with clients. It’s remember this social media marketing platforms’ #1 goal is always to keep you around the platform provided that possible so they can make ad revenue. They do this by showing you content they believe can keep yourself on a bit longer. They are all literally designed at some level to get addictive to us.

    I discuss during my marketing content various exploitation opportunties that trick these social platforms into thinking your articles is viral by fooling the algorithm they rely on to distribute to users.

    By way of 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 that website engagement is growing. It’s not simply Twitter – Facebook, Instagram, Youtube (Google), Snapchat and even Linkedin have the ability to the same fundamental vulnerability. It is a breeze to provide false social proof to just about anything.

    Humans are hardwired with cognitive biases which might be easily and frequently exploited by social networking platforms and check engines to create us believe that things are more (or fewer) popular in comparison with truly are. Increasingly we are getting stuck in our own social echo chambers and believe many people see things similar to us.

    There was legitimate grievances throughout the US economy like job losses from globalization and artificial intelligence leading to increased economic inequality. But People in the usa were manipulated and sentiment hijacked by populist narratives to be the victim with the government, elites, experts, Democrats, Mexicans, Muslims, and foreign allies.

    Tactic 3: Erode Trust & Global Alliances

    What’s worse, not only was the aim achieved to destabilize america by facilitating the turning of a nation on itself, but in addition have its internal damage bleed Anti-Americanism into US-global relations. The surprise betrayal from the American-Kurd alliance will 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 the amount it can count on the usa following your abrupt pulling individuals forces from Northern Syria without consultations from NATO partners. As stated by the BBC,

    “Russia, which sees Nato as being a threat for the security, welcomes france president’s comments as “truthful words.””

    It’s tough to say just when this second Cold War started, but one thing is for sure: we’re woefully prepared to defend ourselves from disinformation and still have been taught to prevent difficult political conversations.

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