Suspicion of Authority

Folksonomies: conspiracy

"Susicion of Authority" is Also Propaganda

While individuals get our empathy and sympathy, institutions seldom do. The "we're in this together" spirit of films from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s later gave way to a reflex shared by left and right, that villainy is associated with organization. Even when they aren't portrayed as evil, bureaucrats are stupid and public officials short-sighted. Only the clever bravado of a solitary hero (or at most a small team) will make a difference in resolving the grand crisis at hand.

This rule of contemporary storytelling is so nearly universal that it has escaped much comment — because you never notice propaganda that you already agree with. In other words, the reflex is self-reinforcing. A left-leaning director may portray villainous oligarchs or corporations while another film-maker rails against government cabals. But while screaming at each other over which direction Big Brother may be coming from, they never seem to notice their common heritage and instinct — Suspicion of Authority (SOA) — much in the way fish seldom comment on the existence of water.

Indeed, one of the great ironies is that we all suckled SOA from every film and comic book and novel that we loved... and yet, we tend to assume that we invented it. That only we and a few others share this deep-seated worry about authority. That our neighbors got their opinions from reflexive, sheeplike obedience to propaganda. But we attained ours through logical appraisal of the evidence.

No, you did not invent Suspicion of Authority. You were raised by it.


A conspiracy meme that comes from both the left and right.

Folksonomies: memetics authority meme power conspiracy

Cause and Effect

Consumers of Alternative News are More Likely to Fall for Troll Memes

Most of the online activism Facebook pages contain claims that mainstream media is manipulated by higher entities (and thus the information is be not neutral or reliable). Such an antagonism makes any kind of persuasion process, even if based on more solid information, very dicult. As a response to partisan debates, the emergent groups of trolls began to provide parodistic imitations of a wide range of online partisan topics. Despite the evident parodistic (and sometimes paradoxical) contents, not rarely, troll memes fomented animated debates and diused through the community as any other information would. Through statistical analysis, we nd that the consumption patterns are similar despite the dierent nature of the information. Finally, in order to uncover more characteristics of the process, we distinguished users with strong aliations and observed their respective interaction patterns, as well as with false information inoculated in that portion of the Facebook ecosystem. We nd that, out of the 1279 labeled users interacting with the troll memes, a dominant percentage (56% , as opposed to 26% and 18% for other groups) is constituted of users preeminently interacting with alternative information sources and thus more exposed to unsubstantiated claims. The results of our study raise a real warning, as the higher the number of circulating unsubstantiated claims is, the more users will be biased in selecting contents.


Memes that are satirical or paradoxical.

Folksonomies: media truth paranoia conspiracy theories