Online Propaganda in Politics

Renzo Espiritu

Social media is an efficient conduit of information for millions of users around the world. Its ability to quickly spread information to a large number of people makes it an efficient way to shape information and, hence, shape public opinion. Propaganda has existed in traditional mass media for many years and it is now slowly permeating social media. Spreading misinformation or lies could alter perceived public opinion on a topic and have real-world repercussions. Previous studies have shown that the results of elections are positively correlated with opinion about candidates expressed on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites. Other reports mention the significant role of Twitter and Facebook in helping organize and coordinate protests in our country. Politicians and party are a materially impoverished actor limited in their ability to purchase media. The fight is therefore for a favorable media account, testing politicians’ propagandist skills to the uttermost. The recognition that no public event is capable of one sovereign interpretation, combined with the observable susceptibility of the media to bandwagon effects, has meant the expertise of the governments increasingly becoming not operational management or entrepreneurship but communication skill.

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