Hoax Campaigns: Opiate of the Angry Masses


A re:publica event

Many waves of outrage and viral memes arise randomly, but the mechanisms by which they run their course make them predictable. It’s not only PR strategists that use them for grey marketing and covert propaganda – pranksters and “false flag” trolls also play their part. A week after we all shared the video about the hero cat that defended a boy against a dog, the question arose as to whether it was really just a promotional stunt by the pro-fracking lobby. Shortly after people feminists have always found to be a bit dim began waxing indignant on Facebook and Twitter about menstruating activists, it emerged that the social-media phenomenon known by its #Freebleeding hashtag was a 4chan hoax in disguise. How do these “false flag” campaigns work, and how can we avoid falling for them?


Deef Pirmasens, Online Editor and Community Manager, @BR quer from Bavarian Broadcasting

Christian Schiffer, Editor, Bavarian Broadcasting