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Digital Propaganda: The Tyranny of Ignorance

Sparkes-Vian, Cassian

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© The Author(s) 2018. The existence of propaganda is inexorably bound to the nature of communication and communications technology. Mass communication by citizens in the digital age has been heralded as a means to counter elite propaganda; however, it also provides a forum for misinformation, aggression and hostility. The extremist group Britain First has used Facebook as a way to propagate hostility towards Muslims, immigrants and social security claimants in the form of memes, leading to a backlash from sites antithetical to their message. This article provides a memetic analysis, which addresses persuasion, organisation, political echo chambers and self-correcting online narratives; arguing that propaganda can be best understood as an evolving set of techniques and mechanisms which facilitate the propagation of ideas and actions. This allows the concept to be adapted to fit a changing political and technological landscape and to encompass both propaganda and counter-propaganda in the context of horizontal communications networks.


Sparkes-Vian, C. (2019). Digital Propaganda: The Tyranny of Ignorance. Critical Sociology, 45(3), 393-409.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 19, 2018
Online Publication Date Apr 19, 2018
Publication Date May 1, 2019
Deposit Date May 15, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jun 15, 2018
Journal Critical Sociology
Print ISSN 0896-9205
Electronic ISSN 1569-1632
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 45
Issue 3
Pages 393-409
Keywords Facebook, Islamophobia, meme, political communication, political sociology, propaganda, racism, social media
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : © 2019. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications


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