Michaela Meinert

Lunchtime Seminar - Online-propaganda, disinformation & emotional Manipulation – Interdisciplinary Approaches to understand and combat manipulative online-communication in the DemoRESILdigital group.

Tuesday, 22. January 2019 - 12:00 to 13:00, Leonardo-Campus 18

Speaker:    Dr. Lena Frischlich

Abstract:  Our society becomes more and more digitalized. Beyond new opportunities for democratic participation, this also offers new opportunity structures for the dissemination of manipulative content such as populist or extremist online-propaganda, fake news, or emotionally manipulative content. Counter-strategies, which focus solely on the repression of such contents, are limited by both the speed and dynamic of digital dissemination channels, as well as by the potential risk of censorship. 
Complementary prevention strategies that strengthen the individual resistance against digital manipulation are thus inevitable. To develop such interventions a deepened understanding of the actors and strategies of contemporary propagandists and the boundary conditions of their attempts’ effectiveness is needed.
The junior research group DemoRESILdigital addresses these challenges by combining interdisciplinary knowledge from data science, psychology, and communication. The talk will present the overall concept of the research group and provide first insights into the strengths of interdisciplinary working-groups by discussing our research on the detection and effects ofnostalgia (bitter-sweet memories about better times) in the context of populism.

Short Bio:   The media- and communication psychologists Dr. Lena Frischlich is the leader of the interdisciplinary junior research group DemoResildigital at the Institute for Communication Science at the WWU. Her research focused for the last eight years on the staging and effects of extremist and/or covert online-propaganda and mediated counter-strategies. She has (co-)managed multiple third-party funding projects in this area. Her work has been published as books, book-chapters, international articles in leading journals of the field and she is regularly invited as an expert on extremists’ digital strategies by political and civic institutions and the media. She holds a PhD and Diploma in psychology from the University of Cologne.