Political Power of (Social) Networks

political power1This is a log of publicly available information about [mass mental manipulation of voters with the help of ICT/ internet tools and social media] , in a number of countries. Roughly listed in sequence. From recent — back to 2015/2016. I have tried to comment on the articles and books as scientific/neutral/factual as possible.

5UK British security chief warns of Russian hacking.  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/14/world/europe/britain-russia-cybersecurity-hacking.html?smid=tw-share

2World China and Russian attempts to influence, are they Softpower? The meaning of Sharp Power: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/china/2017-11-16/meaning-sharp-power?cid=int-lea&pgtype=hpg

1Sweden & Czech (excerpt from an announcement June 16, 2017):

Text zweden

1.EU Commission has announced that it will set up a study group to look at manipulation of voters with Social Media. See announcement on Twitter

1Iran  Alternative channels for the civil society: How has changed the internet landscape in ? investigates:


2Netherlands Two cabinet ministers and a number of MP’s have annouced that there should be done an investigation on Fake News and that proposals to fight that should be gathered. It is curious that none of them mention that a “StaatsCommission on Parlementarian Processes” has been installed by them that has these subjects as one of their subject issues (Commissie Remkes).

1.Netherlands Log of Russian #agitprop activities with people/social media to sow discord: (a) before advisory referendum about EU-Ukraine, (b) before the elections for Parliament “Tweede Kamer”, (c) during the legal investigation of the #MH17 plane crash.  Article in NRC newspaper (in Dutch Language) :https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2017/11/14/kabinet-rusland-probeert-politiek-en-publieke-opinie-te-beinvloeden-14014543-a1581090

and https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2017/11/14/pro-russische-activisten-proberen-in-nederland-de-publieke-opinie-te-bespelen-14008383-a1581044

1UK. The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has launched an investigation into the way UK political parties target voters through social media with a warning that if they send political messages to people based on their individual data, they could be breaking the law.

The investigation “into the use of data analytics for political purposes” was announced by Elizabeth Denham, the information commissioner, and will go further than the watchdog’s current activity of exploring practices deployed during the European Union referendum campaign.  (…..) techniques used for gathering personal data on voters from social media and processing it for campaigning purposes does not excuse them from obligations under the Data Protection Act to tell people what it is doing with the data. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/17/inquiry-launched-into-how-uk-parties-target-voters-through-social-media

2UK  Very revealing article by  in the Guardian about what took place dring the Brexit referendum and long before that with the help op #PsyOps , ads and RU trolls and -bots https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/07/the-great-british-brexit-robbery-hijacked-democracy?CMP=share_btn_tw

1France They outwitted the Russians by injecting a huge amount of (most of it made-up) gossip about candidate Macron just before the presidential elections. So the Russian trolls had no time to sort out what was true or not, and spread it in France. The trolls lost their credibility because of nonsense messages. So this is an important lesson: use fast response and Audace Audace! (the unexpected) on Internet.

3UK. Speech of PM Th. May (Nov. 15) in which she accuses Russia with election meddling (for #Brexit)  http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-41973043  

4UK Articles in the Economist blaming the ((greed of the management of)) Social Media for the meddling: social media more Gamergate Economist (1)    and  Do social media threaten democracy 

1.World.  Russia is not the only country that interferes in the free flow of information of messages and publications and the freedom to assemble and form/ discuss viewpoints. https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/11/14/think_the_us_is_alone_18_countries_had_their_elections_hacked_last_year/  The Freedom on the Net 2017 Report (by Freedom House) :   https://regmedia.co.uk/2017/11/14/fotn.pdf  “Manipulating Social Media to Undermine Democracy”

1USA Senate Hearing . Watch Google, Twitter and Facebook lawyers testify to the Senate hearings about the meddling in and before the 2016 elections: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1863&v=mDfAFzh6doM

1Germany, Europe The first alarms about mass manipulation by personal profiling and nudging of the isolated ‘bubbles’, where raised in an academic paper first published in Germany (2015) and later translated for the Scientific American (2016) .

The first warning that Mass Mental Manipulation (MMM) was going on was published (in German) by a group of Swiss, German & Dutch scholars. published by Spektrum der Wissenschaft:

[A] Helbing, D., Frey, B. S., Gigerenzer, G., Hafen, E., Hagner, M., Hofstetter, Y., van den Hoven, J., Zicari, R. V., & Zwitter, A  (december 2015). “Digitale Demokratie statt Datendiktatur,”  http://www.spektrum.de/news/wie-algorithmen-und-big-data-unsere-zukunft-bestimmen/1375933

B. A more extended version of that paper was published (in English) two years later in Scientific Americanhttps://www.scientificamerican.com/article/will-democracy-survive-big-data-and-artificial-intelligence/
[B] Helbing, D., Frey, B. S., Gigerenzer, G., Hafen, E., Hagner, M., Hofstetter, Y., van den Hoven, J., Zicari, R. V., & Zwitter, A.: Will democracy survive Big Data and Artificial Intelligence? Scientific American, February 25, 2017)
Full text ((very much recommended read))

More about these early warnings was logged in my blog on July 15 2017: https://theconnectivist.wordpress.com/2017/06/03/the-massive-brainwashing-on-internet-how-why-who-ordered-it/


1Books About political power of Internet and networks. Recommended reading for politicians:

(a) Ann-Marie Slaughter “The Chessboard & the Web” -Strategies of Connection in a Networked World- , described in: https://theconnectivist.wordpress.com/2017/06/27/about-our-connected-future-4-policy-transition-from-entities-to-relations-between-entities/

(b) Joshua Cooper Ramo “The Seventh Sense” – Power, Fortune and Survival in the Age of Networks-, described in https://theconnectivist.wordpress.com/2017/07/16/about-our-connected-future-5-make-connections-for-constructive-network-power/

(c) My contributions to cope with the new power of networks in a democratic way are described in an earlier blog, probably a chapter in a book that I am writing: https://theconnectivist.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/np9-engines-for-the-new-power-the-four-network-effects/ . Focus there is on Multi-Tribe membership (Reed’s Law) and Btweeners (weak links) that re-connect and stabilize communities and bottom-up cooperation between a diversity of very skilled problem solvers (the powerful Van Till’s Law)

political power2

This “river” may run deeper and wider than you might have imagined. Simply throwing stones in it will not change much. navigating it and building dikes may be more constructive.

jaap van till, TheConnectivist


About broodjejaap

See ABOUT on TheConnectivist.wordpress.com
This entry was posted in Brainwashing, Brexit, Civil Society, election meddling, Russia, social media, Trolls, Trump, Trumpism, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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