On Wednesday 6 February 2019 we host William Merrin, who will deliver the following talk.
When, where? 4.30pm FW101
The Continuation of Politics by Other Memes: The Global Rise of Troll Warfare
Russia’s ‘information war’ against the west has attracted a lot of attention, but the reality is more complex than this term suggests. The aim of intervention here isn’t simply to influence internal politics by promoting favoured messages as in the past. Instead something else is happening. Today, traditional government covert activities and psyops have merged with internet culture to produce a new form of ‘troll warfare’. This is a mode of war carried out by states, by their organised ‘troll armies’ and ‘troll farms’, by military units themselves, by organised non-state actors (such as hacking groups or extremist groups) as well as by individuals. Today, a huge variety of groups and people employ the troll’s toolkits and weapons for political purposes. This paper explores how baiting, playing, doxing, memes, sock puppets, the lulz and the burn have become central to political debate and to global conflicts.
William Merrin is an Associate Professor of in Media Studies at Swansea University, and the author of Digital War (Polity, 2018), Media Studies 2.0 (Routledge, 2014), and Baudrillard and the Media (Polity, 2005), and co-editor of Trump’s War on the Media (2018) and Jean Baudrillard: Fatal Theories (Routledge, 2009).