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Strategic Communications lecture

Lecture to NATO College

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Strategic Communications lecture

  1. 1. Truth, Trust and Technology: strategic communication in the misinformation age Prof Charlie Beckett LSE NATO College, Rome March, 2019
  2. 2. Goals of strategic communication for NATO •Understanding •Influence •Change •‘Environmental’ • external, internal, data, policy, role • public, authorities, experts, media • perception, elections, funding, military, security, diplomatic • Evidence, accountability, record, objectivity
  3. 3. NATO strat comms problems •Lack of political and public support •Specific propaganda effects •General undermining of support for values and purpose •Information abundance and diversity •‘Post-truth’ relativism that hinders information deliberation
  4. 4. What did you need to know today?
  5. 5. Is my flight home delayed?
  6. 6. What’s the latest on #Brexit?
  7. 7. What is the latest Hammers ‘news’?
  8. 8. Mixed news media – but all networked • Traditional ‘legacy’media • Social news media • Social networks/platforms
  9. 9. News becomes personal • Social sharing • Email newsletters • Topic selection ‘My FT’ • Facebook algorithms • Personalised search • News aggregators • Facebook/Twitter feeds • Artificial intelligence • News bots • Gamification
  10. 10. Global networked news war
  11. 11. Disinformation: the four Ds Images from
  12. 12. Not just Facebook and not just elections
  13. 13. Bot wars: polarising, fomenting
  14. 14. It’s not just social media
  15. 15. Post-Truth? 1. Over abundance of information creates confusion 2. Fact-checking is limited 3. Algorithms struggle to filter, platforms incentivise for attention not accuracy 4. Learn to adapt to a multiple-truth information ecology?
  16. 16. Trust signalling
  17. 17. Fake news is good news for reality-based news media
  18. 18. Trust 1. Transparency is vital, but just the start 2. Filter bubble or community? 3. Emotions as key drivers 4. Real problem is curation, connection, personalisation 5. Learn to adapt to a low-trust, high-scepticism information ecology
  19. 19. Zuckerberg cover photos
  20. 20. Getting worse before it gets better? 1. Governments, corporations, lobby groups now investing in information manipulation 2. New channels, platforms and networks will provide fresh distribution outlets for misinformation 3. Failure to address systematic problem means we treat symptoms not structural challenges: remember the banking crisis?
  21. 21. LSE Commission recommendations • A new institution, the Independent Platform Agency, to oversee the technology companies’ networks and platforms • A major programme of media literacy in and beyond the classrooms • More support for public service news media innovation and adaption
  22. 22. Truth, Trust and Technology: a new agenda for the crisis in public information @Charlie Beckett