Monthly Archives: September 2016

How White Supremacists incited panic and fear using social media propaganda at the University of Missouri

This post documents – in detail – how white supremacists used social media to create genuine fear and hysteria at the University of Missouri in late 2015.

Summary

White supremacists, KKK and/or neo Nazi’s used social media propaganda to incite fear and panic by falsely asserting that the KKK was on the University of Missouri campus and acting violently (Assertion, Lie). This propaganda created fear among the students, who then passed along frightening hoax statements and photos as facts, creating more fear and panic.

This propaganda campaign was successful: the hoaxers made it look like the propaganda came from the students themselves, successfully created fear and panic, which led to a shutdown of the university.

CAUTION: This page contains imagery that most people consider objectionable.

During unrest at the University of Missouri, social media was filled with rumors and provocative images intended to incite emotion.

  • The story begins with anonymous threats made against black students at the campus. These threats, made on YikYak social media were very real (two students at other college campuses were arrested for making those threats).
  • White supremacists began circulating their own rumors on social media, purporting to be from University of Missouri students witnessing acts of hate and violence on campus. As we will see, these were provable hoaxes designed to incite panic and fear.
  • White supremacists circulated hoax posts on Twitter allegedly showing photos of the KKK on campus and saying violence was occurring “right now” or was eminent.
  • So many messages flooded social media, that the student body president passed along these rumors that the KKK had shown up on campus and added commentary that he was working with local police and other authorities (an “Appeal to Authority” which added authenticity to the report). Later, the student body president formally retracted his tweet.
  • But by then, students and others were sharing these hoax images of KKK members allegedly on campus.
  • These social media posts were often captioned as “happening right now” but in fact, the photos were taken at events, in other states, occurring years and months before the situation at the University of Missouri.
  • Days later, some were blaming students for the propaganda that actually came from white supremacists.
  • At this point, social media propaganda successfully generated mass panic and fear.

Continue reading for details never before presented.

Continue reading

Leaving out details to make a story more dramatic

14517523_913408235470624_6271785127124202065_nTL;DR Summary

  • Milwaukee police “accidentally” shot a 13 year old girl at an elementary school after she became “combative”.’
  • By placing the word “accidentally” in quotes, followed by the word “combative”, this propaganda poster sets the viewer up to believe the police intentionally shot a 13 year old “combative” girl.
  • The poster leaves out that the officer’s gun was in the holster and that the MPD weapons do not have holster safeties. This information negates the attempted spin on the story. A little more information here.
  • There are valid questions as to how and why the police officer’s weapon discharged while in its holster. That should not have happened.
  • The purpose of this post is to illustrate how selective information – and leaving out key information – can spin and shape the emotional response to a social media propaganda poster. Keep in mind – propaganda posters are not created to inform you but to persuade you to adopt someone else’s agenda.
  • The above poster appears to have originated with Counter Current News, on Facebook. Counter Current News is an online, social media based for-profit publishing business that target’s conspiracy theory enthusiasts. Many such businesses target political enthusiasts; Occupy Democrats is an online, social media for-profit publishing business that targets left wing political enthusiasts. There are many examples of these for profit publishing businesses that pull at the emotions of their target audience.
  • These types of businesses design propaganda posters to emotionally rile up their target audience, who then share the posters online. To learn more about each poster, viewers are encouraged to click a link to the publisher’s web site, where the full story is accompanied by advertising. This type of social media based publishing has become popular and is aimed at ideological enthusiasts.

Social media after big events

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TL;DR Summary

  • In this poster, the “facts” do lie.
  • This poster was modified from 162 (or may be 163) to read “164”. Those numbers are false.
  • Snopes.com says, the original social media poster was a lie, based on using different definitions for “pre-Obama” versus “Obama” to inflate the latter’s count.

 

In the aftermath of a mass shooting in Burlington, Washington, I saw “fake” photos distributed on Twitter. Twitter was filled with accusations against Muslims. Few seemed interested in waiting for actual facts. Instead, spreading political ideology was the goal on social media. As 3 lay dead, and 2 others were critically injured (and later died) and as police conducted a manhunt for the shooter, there were a great many political posts advocating more gun control or more guns.

This poster works because of its use of numbers –  and it some how sounds believable. The first 4 numbers are basically correct. Like other propaganda posters, a sequence of true statements is then followed by an untrue statement. Lacking critical thinking, the final statement is then perceived as true.

In the immediate aftermath of a large event, most everything spread on social media is incomplete, exaggerated, subject to change, misreported, or is spun to promote someone’s agenda. Keep your Bull Shit detector set to maximum sensitivity.

Text for Search Engines

Facts Don’t Lie …

Reagan: 11 mass shootings

Bush Sr: 12 mass shootings

Clinton: 23 mass shootings

Obama: 164 mass shootings (or 162 or 63)

 

“Massive Rally AGAINST Islam in France”? No.

massiverallyagainstislam

TL; DR Summary

  • The assertion that this is a rally against Islam in France is false.
  • Social media passes along this photo and text description: “Massive Rally AGAINST Islam in France: Di you hear about this MASSIVE rally in France? You probably didn’t because it’s exactly what the mainstream media doesn’t want you to see. A far-right rally has been held in Paris with hundreds of young people taking to the streets…
  • The photo was stolen from a BBC news article about a rally standing up for the victims of terror attacks in the offices of the magazine Charlie Hebdo, in France. The rally was NOT a “massive rally against Islam in France”.
  • This technique, of writing an incorrect description for a photo of an event (sometimes a photo of an event having nothing to do with any of the description) is common in social media propaganda. Or simply stealing a photo of an event in the past and pretending it has something to do with current events – we busted an example of this just a week or so ago.