On another disinformation front, Kirk’s groups have been busy this year promoting falsehoods on campuses and in social media about vaccine mandates, efforts that the groups have used to raise funds and which have sparked criticism from health experts.
Kirk wrote false text messages charging that Biden has sent “goons DOOR-TO-DOOR to make you take a covid-19 vaccine”, as the Washington Post first reported.
Further, a Kirk non-profit ran alarmist and erroneous Facebook ads, which were seen millions of times, stating that the government has “NO RIGHT to force you to inject yourself with an experimental vaccine,” and warning that in response to advice about shots “LOCK YOUR DOORS, KIDS!!”
Frances Haugen, a former data scientist at Facebook, told members of a Senate subcommittee that her former employer bears some of the blame for the growing conflict in Ethiopia. More than once, Haugen accused Facebook's algorithms of “literally fanning ethnic violence” in Ethiopia.
“My fear is that without action, divisive and extremist behaviors we see today are only the beginning,” Haugen said. “What we saw in Myanmar and are now seeing in Ethiopia are only the beginning chapters of a story so terrifying no one wants to read the end of it.”
Freelance journalist Zecharias Zelalem is one of the people attempting to document that story in real time. He reports extensively on Ethiopia and agrees with Haugen's assessment.
“Just looking at the instances of documented evidence over the course of the past three years in which prominent Facebook posters would post unverified, often inflammatory posts or rhetoric that would then go on to incite mob violence, ethnic clashes, crackdowns on independent press or outspoken voices,” Zelalem said.
In one recent instance, Zelalem saw an inflammatory Facebook post from a media outlet that falsely blamed members of an ethnic minority group for carrying out murders and kidnappings that took place on Sept. 27.
The post quickly got hundreds of shares and likes. A day later, on Sept. 28, Zelalem said the village cited in the post was ransacked, burnt to the ground and the inhabitants were murdered.
“Despite multiple efforts to report the post, it remains up and live as of this moment,” he said.
The way to change people’s minds is to become friends with them, to integrate them into your tribe, to bring them into your circle. Now, they can change their beliefs without the risk of being abandoned socially.
Tiffany Trump is not the most prominent or politically adept of the President’s children, but her speech at the Republican National Convention last week served as a succinct summation of the event’s key messages. Donald Trump is a giant among Presidents, protecting the country and keeping his promises. His reëlection is a contest between freedom and oppression. Yet he’s subject to hatred, Tiffany said, because so many people have been “manipulated and visibly coerced” by the media and tech companies that present a “biased and fabricated” version of reality. “Ask yourselves, why are we prevented from seeing certain information?” she urged viewers. The answer is “control.”
She was far from the only speaker to have discerned a connection between attempts to deceive the American people and efforts to subdue them. On Thursday night, when her father accepted his party’s nomination, he did the same, saying, “They are coming after me, because I am fighting for you!” Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former Fox News journalist who is Donald Trump, Jr.,’s partner, loudly warned about “cosmopolitan élites” who “want to control what you see and think and believe so that they can control how you live.” Richard Grenell, the former acting director of National Intelligence, said that Trump’s opponents “never want the American people to know who’s actually calling the shots.”
I don’t think it’s the lies we have to fight against, rather it’s the narrative that gives people an excuse to vote in a way that protects their interests (or what they see as their interests) at the expense of democracy, fairness, and inclusion.
I believe this means we have to provide a counter narrative that is equally attractive and let’s people change, save face, and join together. Not be in opposition.