Warfare comes in many different forms, and in today’s day and age, social media warfare is increasingly important. Let Geoff Tokajer explain why.
Social media is something ubiquitous to just about anyone who uses the Internet – which has become a lot of people. From small children to Great Grandparents, everyone is browsing Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But social media is not just a tool for entertainment. Increasingly, it has become something that is used for warfare purposes. Not dropping bombs, obviously, but as Geoff Tokajer turns out, misinformation can be one of the most effective weapons out there.
Geoff Tokajer Explains what Social Media Warfare is
As Geoff Tokajer explains, social media warfare refers to using social media in the war landscape. Typically, an attack through social media warfare is either meant to misinform the public, counteract that misinformation, or even use something that is true in order to sow dissidence into the people of one’s country or another’s country, Geoff Tokajer explains. Perhaps one of the best examples you can find is found in the 2016 Presidential election, where social media warfare was experiencing a fever pitch. There was not only a lot of misinformation going around, particularly bots and Russian trolls (a term referring to someone who spreads misinformation). Now, Russians and Americans are not the only kinds of people locked in this battle, Geoff Tokajer points out, but their social media warfare is one of the most intense at the moment.
One example of how social media warfare can sow dissidence is the #BlackLivesMatter movement. To put it simply, #BlackLivesMatter is a movement decrying the societal deprioritization of black people in America, particularly relating to how they are treated by police. The movement got a lot of positive and negative responses, particularly down party lines as Geoff Tokajer explains, and Russians bots and trolls took advantage of this quickly. One might suspect that Russia, having a low percentage of black people living in its borders, would present #BlackLivesMatter as a wholly negative thing, and you would be half right. Geoff Tokajer notes that the tactic was not to tear down the movement, but rather to play both sides of it. On one side they posed as black people, or white allies, in order to decry racial abuse directed at black people. On the other hand, they did the opposite, decrying #BlackLivesMatter as being anti-white and/or unfairly anti-police. In doing this, Russia was hoping to create strife between black Americans and white conservative Americans, thereby having the focus of Americans on fighting among each other. Geoff Tokajer notes that there does not have to be any misinformation going into what the bots and trolls say. There may be, but it is not a hard and fast rule. Simply creating strife can be enough.