Meldungen Memetischer Synchronisationsleistungen #006: Fake-Pelosi, Disinformation Wars, Why Fiction Trumps Truth, Peter „Memetic Tribes“ Limberg im Interview

• Kluger Kommentar von Mike Caulfield über das synergetische Zusammenspiel von Fake News (in diesem Fall: das Fake-Pelosi-Video) und redaktioneller Inhalte klassischer Medien, um ein einziges Narrativ zu pushen: „very often the way networked lies and mainstream news interact is synergistic. So as this false Facebook video is being circulated to millions of viewers, the Fox News show Lou Dobbs Tonight airs a different video of Pelosi with some instances of her stammering edited together and asks “What’s going on?” Age? Illness? The video pushes beyond the bounds of acceptable journalism, but within the bounds of what is currently permissible on air. The guest commentator is very muted but pointed in replies — she’s getting old, probably pushing herself too hard, maybe needs to step aside.“

• Untersuchung des Australian Strategic Policy Institute Cataloguing cyber-enabled attacks on elections ohne wirklich neue Erkenntnisse: Die Russen und Chinesen streuen gezielte Desinformation zur Destabilisierung politischer Systeme.

• Neues Modell der Desinformation von Hossein Derakhshan: Disinfo Wars – A taxonomy of information warfare.

State vs. state (SS): When a state targets its own or another state’s organisations, such as when the US and the UK governments fed other states (such as Poland or Denmark) false information about the Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction in order to form a military coalition to invade Iraq.

State vs. non-state (SN): When a state feeds a non-state organisation such as the UN, local or international NGOs, etc. to influence their perception or decisions. An example is when the American and British governments leaked false information about Iraq’s imminent WMD threat to the likes of BBC and the New York Times.

State vs. public (SP): Known as propaganda, it refers to when a state targets its own or another population directly with false information to influence their decisions or perceptions. Examples include most authoritarian system’s broadcast television or radio, or when they use advertising on social media to target their own or other populations.

Non-state vs. state (NS): When a non-state organisation feeds its own or another state with disinformation. For example, when pro-Assad or anti-Assad human rights groups tried to manipulate US or European governments with false reports on use of chemical weapons by their opponent.

Non-state vs. non-state (NN): When non-state organisations feed each other with disinformation. Motivation is mostly competition.

Non-state vs. public (NP): When non-state organisation feed the population with disinformation. For instance, when the pro-gun lobbies in the US feed the public with false information.

Public vs. state (PS): When citizens of a country send disinformation to state organisations. For example, bogus bomb or fire or terrorism reports, or fabricated reports about rivals in one’s own or other country.

Public vs. non-state (PN): When public feed non-state organisations with disinformation. For example when indoctrinated photographs or videos or false witness reports are sent by public to non-state media organisations.

Public vs. public (PP): When public target others in their own or another country with disinformation. Examples include spreading rumours or lies or private chats, pictures, etc. against an individual on social media or with mass emails etc.

The Science of Storytelling by Will Storr review – the lure of novel ideas: Stories are ordering, sense-making machines, helping our brains to render the frantic incoherence of chaotic existence into comprehensible narratives. These narratives, as Peter Brooks showed in his classic critical work Reading for the Plot, “follow the internal logic of the discourse of mortality” – stories have beginnings, middles and ends because our lives do. Every time we read a novel, we’re giving ourselves a new way of thinking about the shape and structure of our own lives. And even in the age of AI, the novel remains our most subtle and sophisticated piece of technology when it comes to answering these deep, existential questions.

How the news took over reality: In 2013, when Donald Trump was still a mockable reality TV star, and Twitter wasn’t yet known affectionately among its users as the “hellsite”, the German-Korean cultural theorist Byung-Chul Han published a prescient book entitled In the Swarm, which argued that digital communication was gradually rendering politics impossible. Healthy political debate, he argued, depends on respect, which requires that participants retain a sort of mental distance from each other: “Civil society requires respectfully looking away from what is private.” But digital connectivity collapses distance. Social media blurs the distinction between making considered public comments on the news and impulsively emitting snatches of one’s half-formed private impressions of it; and it rewards and amplifies the most extreme expressions of emotion. When there is a direct pipeline running in both directions between the news and the deepest recesses of everyone’s psyches, the result – obvious in hindsight, perhaps – isn’t that it is easier to reach consensus or resolution. It is that every topic of public disagreement spirals rapidly into psychodrama.

• Yuval Noah Harari (am bekanntesten durch seine Bücher Eine kurze Geschichte der Menschheit und Homo Deus: Eine Geschichte von Morgen) über die Überlegenheit der Fiktion: Why Fiction Trumps Truth.

When it comes to uniting people around a common story, fiction actually enjoys three inherent advantages over the truth. First, whereas the truth is universal, fictions tend to be local. Consequently if we want to distinguish our tribe from foreigners, a fictional story will serve as a far better identity marker than a true story.

The second huge advantage of fiction over truth has to do with the handicap principle, which says that reliable signals must be costly to the signaler. Otherwise, they can easily be faked by cheaters. […] If political loyalty is signaled by believing a true story, anyone can fake it. But believing ridiculous and outlandish stories exacts greater cost, and is therefore a better signal of loyalty.

Third, and most important, the truth is often painful and disturbing. Hence if you stick to unalloyed reality, few people will follow you. […]

Even if we need to pay some price for deactivating our rational faculties, the advantages of increased social cohesion are often so big that fictional stories routinely triumph over the truth in human history. Scholars have known this for thousands of years, which is why scholars often had to decide whether they served the truth or social harmony. Should they aim to unite people by making sure everyone believes in the same fiction, or should they let people know the truth even at the price of disunity? Socrates chose the truth and was executed. The most powerful scholarly establishments in history — whether of Christian priests, Confucian mandarins or Communist ideologues — placed unity above truth. That’s why they were so powerful.

Interview mit Peter Limberg: „In the viral article “The Memetic Tribes Of Culture War 2.0” (vorher auf NC), Peter Limberg and Conor Barnes described how the binary right/left culture war of the 90s was fragmenting into a multipolar war – Culture War 2.0.“

• Captain Obvious-Paper: Psychopathic traits and social anxiety predict online disinhibition (Wikipedia: „Online disinhibition is the lack of restraint one feels when communicating online in comparison to communicating in-person.“)

Neues Paper über Social Media und Well Being, das keinen bemerkenswerten Zusammenhang findet: In this study, we used large-scale representative panel data to disentangle the between-person and within-person relations linking adolescent social media use and well-being. We found that social media use is not, in and of itself, a strong predictor of life satisfaction across the adolescent population. Instead, social media effects are nuanced, small at best, reciprocal over time, gender specific, and contingent on analytic methods.

• Bubbles push people to more extreme opinions: Conformity and the Dangers of Group Polarization.

The existential crisis plaguing online extremism researchers: The very nature of the work is itself a cognitive burden. Online extremism and media manipulation researchers spend their days sifting through hate-speech-ridden Reddit threads, dehumanizing YouTube videos, and toxic chat rooms where death threats and active harassment campaigns are par for the course. The deluge of hate and extremist content takes a toll on their mental health and leaves some with PTSD-like symptoms, much like those experienced by content moderators at Facebook, they say.

• Nette Umschreibung der Trennung öffentlicher und privater Online-Personae: The Dark Forest Theory of the Internet. Die Leute ziehen sich für „echte Kommunikation“ in private Chaträume oder ähnliches zurück und kommunizieren auf offiziellen Plattform-Accounts für die öffentliche Wahrnehmung mit dem Effekt, dass die öffentlich einsehbare Realität immer fiktionaler und verzerrter wird, da die Leute öffentlich vor allem nur noch Rollen im Sinne einer neuen Version der sozialpsychologischen Rollentheorie spielen. Die rohe Authentizität, die das Netz in den vergangenen 20 Jahren so interessant machte, geht dabei verloren.

U.S. journalism really has become more subjective and personal — at least some of it: A deep linguistic analysis finds that newspapers today are a lot like newspapers 30 years ago. But TV news — especially cable news — has ramped up the emotion, the conversationality, and the arguing.

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