Manipulation technique. Eight dirty tricks used by social media propagandists (II)

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How does Facebook spread certain information in your name? Why your friends think do you liked a site with a bad reputation? People who have created entertainment groups make money from propaganda. We have identified eight, the most common methods of manipulation and deception used by ukrainian party staff, commercial companies and Russian propagandists.

5. Comments – spam

Do you want to read all the comments about a published information, but you only have a few tens, broken out of context? It’s an algorithm that Facebook uses to show you the most interesting and resonant comments (as a robot can perceive them). And some of this is used. “Anti-troll”, which protects the user from the invasion of trolls, intervenes in discussions from different profiles and comments “neutral thoughts”. For this to work, it is important not to use the “reply” option, but to make new comments. This is what happens to first-time users who access comments. The true negative is hidden somewhere below.

6. Bots and trolls

Unknown people start writing messages to you in private, trying to prove something to you or even insulting you in comments? Relax, you are attacked by bots. Usually, it’s women. There is something here in freudian subconscious trust in women. It usually lasts a few days or even weeks after you accept a bot in friends and it starts to work.

In fact, trolls were named because they came to a site or forum, without prior moderation of comments, and blocked any constructive discussion there through their offensive and overly emotional comments. The profile of a bot is as general as possible – no more than five photos usually stolen from American image boards.

Bots and trolls are part of a hybrid war and are produced in so-called “farms” on an industrial scale. According to the telegram channel Confession of the Kremlin Bot, in Olghino there is even a special production department. Bots are the most primitive and one of the most efficient tools due to the huge number of these profiles.

The comments made by the bots were and remain the main way to get money from the client, says Nikolai Maluha, specialist in online electoral communication. “It is based on the client’s irrational wishes to see how the public praises him and to eliminate any negative comments.”

7. The elite community

Did you join a Facebook group and think you found people here who think like you? Great attention! Long before the X (the penultimate week of the election campaign), a semi-closed group, an elite discussion platform, was created. Those who come to this community feel involved, have access to an elite circle. “Launching such a group on Facebook does not involve big expenses and is quite efficient. The real facts can be mixed here with rumors, gossip and any other nonsense. If it is well thought out, it can make users assimilate any kind of information”, says Nikolai Maluha.

How can a man who came into such a propaganda community realize that he is being manipulated? This requires critical thinking. Any facts must be verified. Google can help you with this chapter.

8. Advertising on Facebook

In the United States is speaks about how the political advertising on Facebook, paid by Russia, influenced the elections. One of the proposals is to indicate the name of the person who paid for the advertising. In Ukraine, political advertising on Facebook is used very often.

Facebook doesn’t really verify the truthfulness of the information. As a result, you can see how a lot of nonsense is spread through advertising. A public thematic page is created through which attacks are launched on the competitors. All attacks come through advertising. Moreover, it is often the case that the pages have a fun character, but through them the political agitation is spread.

Facebook often accepts trash ads. There are a number of stop-words by which Facebook determines the subject of advertising and whether or not such an advertisement violates the rules. For example, after the Initial Coin Offering (cryptocurrency) advertising was banned, advertisers replaced the letter “o” with the figure “0” and Facebook allowed the ad to be published.

How to counter this? Very simple – do not believe what unknown people write on social networks. Before sharing a post, even one written by your friend, check the information on Google. Then you will not become a useful idiot, which others use to achieve their goals.

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