Edition: Lublin 2016
Citation method: R. Hornik, ‘A strategy to counter propaganda in the digital era’, Yearbook of the Institute of East-Central Europe, vol. 14, no. 2, 2016, pp. 61-74.
Until recently, the concept of Information Security (InfoSec) had been thought to apply primarily to threats against the information systems which monitor and control key aspects of public life. It is now clear that InfoSec also involves defending societies against efforts to distort and pervert public opinion. The ability of state and non-state actors to affect public opinion in open societies has been greatly enhanced by advances in the communications technologies of the 21st century. Social media in particular have proven to be effective in this regard, as has been demonstrated by the success of Islamic terrorist groups in recruiting unwitting citizens in the US and Europe. Traditional responses to propaganda such as refuting it or creating counter-narratives have proven thus far to be ineffective. Instead, this paper argues that open societies must inoculate their citizens against misinformation and disinformation by encouraging the development of their critical thinking skills.