The Big Think

November 17, 2014

This Sounds like

Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 11:46 am

This sounds like a trope from Science Fiction novels:

“However, social media is anything but unfettered. It can be leveraged to spread rumors, undercut the opposition or create a false sense of public pressure, computer analysts and public relations representatives say.

‘There have been smear campaigns since Adams and Jefferson in the early 1800s and we’re seeing the same thing here, with just a new set of tools,’ said Richard Levick, chairman and chief executive officer of Levick, a public relations and strategic communications firm in Washington.

‘Where do undecided voters, journalists go to get their information? Google. So controlling the search engine is hugely important. We need to know who is our audience, how do we reach them, how do we engage them, and then, how do we control the territory?’ he said.

Many digital public relations shops are deploying social media robots, or ‘socialbots,’ built by software programmers and deployed by political campaigns to block Twitter feeds, build support for otherwise unpopular opinions and create a flood of content for their own agendas that hopefully will end up in someone’s Facebook or Twitter feed and then be liked or reposted by a real individual.”

(Italics mine) Sheesh. Battling twitter-bots meant to shape public opinion? Don’t believe everything you read or see reposted on FB (on either side).

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