Social media antagonize societies through algorithms

Information environment, especially the one that exists in virtual domain – in cyberspace, social media or any electronic media and blogsphere, is constantly suffering from manipulation processes. Not only because of actions of foreign states which constantly take such actions, but also because of the structure itself of, for example, social media that have secondary influence on habits and the way of obtaining information, especially by young people. Therefor, the information environment which has the leading character of influence on future generations, through the Internet, has a non-homogeneous structure, controllable by narratives but also algorithms of social media, including the algorithm of the selection of information.

„Among the threats that we need to predict because of the form of transmitting information, there is the issue of dispersion of information environment, that means formation of separate polarized audience groups living in their own so-called information bubbles,” says Kamil Basaj from Info Ops Polska Foundation, “It will cause further deepening of social polarization, because it allows propagandists who posses professional skills such as psychological operations, playing on emotions of those polarized groups, stir them, antagonize internally, using the most emotional narratives. Topics being used are the LGBT, the JUST Act, the US military presence in Poland or other topics shown to two audience groups in radically different, polarized ways with different contexts. The same, as it would seem, piece of information, will bring forth extreme emotions on both sides. It causes societies to not be homogenous – and more they are dispersed, less they are able to act together, therefore less able to defend themselves and to take active stance in security issues.”

According to Kamil Basaj, the described processes will develop:

“The fact that we have better understanding of those threats, we can identify many of them, also pass it in the form of publications, through government and NGO’s projects such as Stop Fake, does not change the fact that at the same time capacities of the informational opponents are rising. Also, non-state actors, such as specialized entities which accept in commercial way, as service thing like defamation of someone or operations linked to gaining the influence over the view on a certain event – therefore the structure of those threats will change. It will be even more difficult to prevent them, because the actors carrying manipulation operations will multiply,” alerts Basaj.

WP