How can social media influence people

Social media and propagandaHow Facebook & Co. us manipulate

The so-called "social media" are actually "advertising platforms", says Constanze Kurz, spokeswoman for the Chaos Computer Club. They evaluate our data - not only for advertising purposes, but also to specifically spread false information and propaganda. The computer scientist fears that this is bad for democracy. In her lecture she describes the possibilities of disinformation with technical means. And she recommends more media literacy and being informed so that we can better protect ourselves against such influence.

A large part of our communication and information acquisition now takes place via social media platforms. The traces of data that we leave behind can be read - and will be. They are used for advertising purposes, clearly, but increasingly also for political influence, warns the computer scientist and spokeswoman for the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) Constanze Kurz, who incidentally rejects the term "social networks" as a euphemism and prefers to speak of "advertising platforms" instead.

"The fact that a large part of our communication, news distribution but also entertainment and of course every form of flirting takes place via advertising networks has changed our society."
Constanze Kurz, computer scientist and spokeswoman for the Chaos Computer Club

In her lecture "Disinformation with technical means", she describes how and to what extent our data profiles can be used and are already being used, especially by Facebook. She does not only deal with the known cases - for example the scandal over Facebook, the British data analysis company "Cambridge Analytica" and their influence on the election of Donald Trump as US President and the Brexit decision.

Targeted manipulation of opinions by evaluating social media profiles

Constanze Kurz also talks about secret services and other players for whom our data is worth gold. And about the role that digital disinformation campaigns could also play for the upcoming EU election.

"Of course, if you're trying to influence public opinion, the fact that we communicate on very few major platforms makes it easier."
Constanze Kurz, computer scientist and spokesperson for the Chaos Computer Club

All of our data profiles are used to specifically place false reports and thus manipulate our opinion-making, says Constanze Kurz. Facebook and Co. undermined democratic processes and would have a great political impact.

Constanze Kurz calls for personal responsibility and institutional control

We should question our own media behavior and inform ourselves, the CCC spokeswoman demands. And she wishes "that at European level, perhaps even at the level of the United Nations, some form of limitation of this mass surveillance is carried out."

Your lecture was recorded on December 5, 2018 and took place as part of the event series "Truth, Populism, Internet - FAKE NEWS and Power in the Digital Age", which was jointly organized by the University and City Library of Cologne, the Center for Data and Simulation Science, was organized by the Department for Communication and Marketing and the Institute for Media Culture and Theater of the University of Cologne.

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