Generally speaking, social media accounts aren't verified, which is a means of authenticating that an online account matches the identity of an actual person or organization in real life. Accounts are often anonymous, and it's very easy and common for people to set up fake profiles that look like a real person. It is difficult to know for certain whom you're interacting with or what they actually want out of your connection. Thankfully, research has shown that people have defense mechanisms to avoid deception or what platforms have dubbed " inauthentic behavior.
Research on influence and its abuse shows how persuasion works and focuses on principles such as reciprocity — the act of returning favors and things like gifts for mutual benefit. This can be a small gesture, like friends taking turns buying drinks for each other. Online, it could be even smaller: Seeing someone share your post or respond to a comment you made can cause you to want to reply or like the post on their page.
If you and another person in an online group are interacting in public view — sharing posts and making and liking comments — it's probably fine. But if they then send you a direct message asking for a favor or to run an errand, keep your wits about you. You still have no idea who they are, what they do for work, what their name might be or even what country they live in. Be especially cautious if they, for instance, ask you to wear a Santa Claus suit and a mask of Donald Trump's face around your city. At least one American did this, according to the Mueller report.
Consider Skyping them first, or seeing if they can speak to you without the aid of Google Translate or if their voice matches the gender they state on their profile. The Russian government also targeted close-knit communities with strong senses of shared identity, which scholars call " oneness. It's clear that any identity-based online group could prove an easy target, so be careful when joining and affiliating with them, especially if you do not personally know the organizers in real life.
An example of a Russian propaganda ad on Facebook. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence There are so many different situations where influence techniques could exploit aspects of human nature that it's impossible to outline all the potential scenarios. In his book " Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion ," psychologist Robert Cialdini offers a general rule to help defend against being swept into an influence campaign: Be on guard if you have a feeling of liking a contact more quickly, or more deeply, than you would have expected.
Simply put, trust warnings from your gut if you're starting to notice things are moving really quickly with someone you barely know. That's especially true if this is an online friend, and even more so if the person regularly posts images of identity-based memes known as memeplexes , like bald eagles patriotism memeplex , rainbows LGBT memeplex or Jesus Christian memeplex.
In an age where governments sow global political instability by exploiting social media and interpersonal trust, it's more important than ever to be skeptical of people you connect with — not only online, but in line at Starbucks. World globe An icon of the world globe, indicating different international options. Search icon A magnifying glass. It indicates, "Click to perform a search". Close icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. It indicates a way to close an interaction, or dismiss a notification. Jennifer Grygiel , The Conversation.
Facebook Icon The letter F. Link icon An image of a chain link. It symobilizes a website link url.
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