- Hot Topic
What is the truth? Does it even matter anymore? Information exists in such a superabundance today that it is creating chaos and destroying democratic discourse, argues propaganda and information war expert Peter Pomerantsev. Pomerantsev draws parallels between Soviet-era disinformation techniques and the modern weaponization of information online to explain how the world has arrived at its current moment of crisis: a time when “anyone from anywhere can influence everyone everywhere” and shared understanding of fundamental terms like “democracy” or “Europe” has all but disappeared.
Pomerantsev himself was born in the Soviet Union and, after his father was persecuted by the KGB for dissent, was raised abroad, only returning to Russia as an adult. Pomerantsev leverages those experiences in structuring his book, which is an intriguing mix of reporting and memoir: Each chapter begins with a short but powerful vignette illustrating how his family struggled against propaganda tactics in Cold War-era Soviet Russia and beyond. He explores historical and current disinformation campaigns occurring around the world and the ways people adjust their behavior to match online algorithm-curated proxies for reality. If you’re a social media user, interested in “fake news” and its uses, or simply want to better understand how Russia coordinates its information offensive, Pomerantsev’s insights will both fascinate and terrify you.
About the Author
Author Peter Pomerantsev is an expert on media and disinformation campaigns. He is a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Institute of Global Affairs at the London School of Economics.