A new study from the Digital Intelligence Lab finds that “extremists often hijack online discussions among vulnerable communities to sow division and spread disinformation.”
Hmm, do we know anybody like that?
“We think that the general goal of this [activity] is to create a spiral of silence to prevent people from participating in politics online, or to prevent them from using these platforms to organize or communicate,” said Samuel Woolley, the director of the Digital Intelligence Lab….
Another case study about Latino Americans gathered data from Reddit. It found that members of r/The_Donald, a major pro-Trump subreddit where racist and extremist content often surfaces, were hugely influential in organizing and promoting discussions related to the Latino community. By filling Reddit with their content, as well as organizing megathreads and other group discussions, they drowned out Latino voices. Researchers also wrote that trolls have at times impersonated experts “in attempts to sow discord and false narratives” related to Latino issues.
Megathreads and impersonation? Sounds awfully familiar.
The study specifically identified disinformation related to conspiracies and false claims about reproductive rights and climate science.
Now where have we heard that one before?