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World Association of International Studies

PAX, LUX ET VERITAS SINCE 1965
Post Hungary 1956, Chile 1973: Would Social Media Have Made a Difference?
Created by John Eipper on 09/07/17 6:00 AM

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Hungary 1956, Chile 1973: Would Social Media Have Made a Difference? (John Heelan, UK, 09/07/17 6:00 am)

JE asked on 4 September: "Imagine if the Hungarians had Twitter/Facebook et al. in 1956 (or the Chileans in 1973). Would it have made a difference?"

History seems to show that primary targets after an invasion or a coup appear to be the centres of news circulation (and propaganda?) such as TV and radio stations. The Trump campaign went one stage further in his preemptive capturing those outlets (Breitbart, alt-right, Fox News, etc.) to proclaim his messages and continues to do so via social networks such as Twitter. (In the UK the pro-Corbyn Momentum movement used similar techniques to rally the student vote in support of the Labour Party.)

Perhaps in the future, preemptive cyber-strikes will be aimed at silencing these communications hubs? As Marshall McLuhan famously said, "The Medium is the Message!"  He sometimes changed the last word to "massage," "mass-age," "mess-age": each interpretation carrying another level of meaning.

JE comments:  We could go one further.  If a strike against democracy/the people/etc. shuts off phones and the Internet, the result would be paralysis--and absolute control.  In the pre-Social Media Age, people still knew how to organize without these tools.

Is it possible to shut down phones and the Internet?  Think of the multiplicity of providers and networks in developed countries.  In authoritarian regimes, the infrastructure is much more centralized and controllable.


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