Propaganda entails the intentional, systematic endeavors of shaping opinions, influencing intuitions, and guiding the behavior of audience to achieve a response that promotes the desired objective. The concept has different definitions among various authors and schools of thought. However, the common fact of propaganda is that it prevails everywhere including news, entertainment, advertising, and on social media. Social media channels have emerged around the world attracting over three billion people. When individuals log in t social sites, they are likely to come across some types of news, entertainment, or advertising. Social media has changed propaganda in unique ways (Auger 370). The creation, spreading and sharing of fake news occurs instantly and reaches a broad audience across borders. This paper examines the three instances in which propaganda occurs on social media.
The emergence of new media, especially social sites enhanced the spread of ideas in a fast and more scalable manner, making it easy for propaganda to reach a larger audience instantaneously. Auger observes that the emergence of disruptive social media technologies impacts societal norms (372). Individuals use social media to serve personal agendas. The concept of fake news, which became more pronounced in 2016 emanates from the spread of false information to the public. Propaganda may occur deliberately or accidentally. The internet, particularly social media allows a small number of people to influence and control the opinions a huge audience. It is worth noting that propagandists target crowds created by social media, which makes the spread of fake news faster than ever before.
Propaganda has become commonplace in corporate communications and public relations departments. For instance, organizations utilize the technique as a viable mechanism to control panic, additional financial, and reputation ruins. Enterprises rely on social media for branding, marketing, and advertising (Auger 374). It is important to note that social media promoters use propaganda to create content and stories targeting consumers of fake news. The developers avail comments sections and news articles to manipulate the opinions of users. The pieces end up flooded with comments designed to promote the hidden objectives of the clients. Social media campaigners use fake news to maintain proactivity on the sites. Propagandists craft news posts that appeal to the readers’ psychological desires including biases and a hierarchy of aspirations. Businesses employ propaganda using social media presence to influence the opinions and preferences of consumers.
In the digital era, people’s attention span of reading materials is short. As such, the propaganda techniques are used to manipulate readers. Most articles do not have to be sensible, complete, or factual (Auger 373). Sensational headlines on social media function efficiently to achieve the principal objective of the client. Social media has played a central role in propagating political ideas in countries, giving rise to historical changes. In most revolutions, uprisings and protests across the globe emerge as propaganda on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram among other favorite social sites. Social media helps in mobilizing, informing and shaping the public opinion (Auger 375). The modern propaganda reaches the global audience. The negative application of social media propaganda has become evident in the wake of terrorism. The potential for anonymity on social media has helped terror gangs to propagate radicalization and extremism.
The advent of social media has transformed the use of propaganda in novel ways. The social media channels, which include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube among others, have leveraged propaganda in unimaginable ways. Notably, social media helps humans to create, share, spread, and promote information without official regulation. Corporate communications and public relations departments use the technique to increase reputation and prevent crises. Also, businesses use propaganda on social media channels in advertising, branding, and marketing. It is important to note that social media propaganda has influenced remarkable changes in national and international politics. Online uprisings have led to historical transformations. Nevertheless, propaganda (fake news) has helped terrorists to spread information about radicalization and extremism, which hurt humans.