Police Learn Propaganda Tactics at Internet Conference
Thursday, September 13, 2012
The exponential power of the Internet, and particularly the overwhelming force of social media, already has earned the attention of governments around the world. When Hillary Clinton declared that the U.S. was not telling its story correctly to the rest of the world — alluding to the Cold War when the U.S. gov’t properly did so, according to her — she was signaling for a ramp up in propaganda domestically and abroad.
The sixth annual Social Media, the Internet and Law Enforcement (SMILE) conference at the Omni Hotel in Richmond Virginia made the dissemination of propaganda a focal point. Being connected online puts police on the streets of the virtual world, which offers an opportunity to engage in news management. As stated by Police Chief Rick Clark: “You can’t afford not to.”
However, beyond merely walking a virtual beat and engaging their fellow citizens when called upon, emphasis was also placed on tactics for monitoring discussions for criminal activity through social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. This is a trend that is trickling down from the federal government who has come under fire from civil liberties groups for creating a range of social media task forces and initiatives; the Electronic Privacy Information Center directly took on DHS, seeking disclosure of records detailing the Department of Homeland Security’s media monitoring activities.
In a statement right out of 1984, Richmond Times-Dispatch writer Zachary Reid says while covering the SMILE conference: “Who gets to tell the truth was the central theme of the day.” (Source)