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Memetic warfare

Updated: 2017-08-15T08:01Z

Memetic warfare is a modern type of information warfare and psychological warfare involving the propagation of Internet memes on social media.


Memetics: A Growth Industry in US Military operations was published in 2005 by Michael Prosser, now a Lieutenant Colonel in the Marine Corps. He proposed the creation of a 'Meme Warfare Center'.[1]

In Evolutionary Psychology, Memes and the Origin of War (2006), Keith Henson defined memes as "replicating information patterns: ways to do things, learned elements of culture, beliefs or ideas." Also in 2006, DARPA commissioned a four-year study of memetics by Dr. Robert Finkelstein, founder of the Robotic Technology Institute.

Memetic warfare has been seriously studied as an important concept with respects to information warfare by NATO's Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence. Jeff Giesea, writing in NATO's Stratcom COE Defense Strategic Communications journal, defines memetic warfare as “competition over narrative, ideas, and social control in a social-media battlefield. One might think of it as a subset of ‘information operations’ tailored to social media. Information operations involve the collection and dissemination of information to establish a competitive advantage over an opponent”.[2][3]

According to Jacob Siegel, "Memes appear to function like the IEDs of information warfare. They are natural tools of an insurgency; great for blowing things up, but likely to sabotage the desired effects when handled by the larger actor in an asymmetric conflict."[4]


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  3. ^ "What is memetic warfare and how it threats democratic values? - European Endowment For Democracy: EED". 
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