Are we seeing Social Media being used as a form of Propaganda?

PushON | March 9th 2012

Recently, there’s been a lot of interest around the KONY2012 campaign. If you don’t know about this by now, then check it out on YouTube

This 30min video looks to raise awareness for the crimes of Joseph Kony and the LRA. It does this by focusing the story on a man that has gone to Africa and rescued a child from the horrors of the LRA. He has returned to America and set out on a mission to get the Government to do something about it. According to the video, 2012 is the year that this will happen… however, there’s a dark and twisted flip side to this coin.

The LRA has been around for a long time; it isn’t something new. Not only have they been around for a long time, but the U.N. have tried to stop him before. In 2006, there was a covert operation to capture or kill Kony. This resulted in all of the Guatemalan Spec Ops being killed, their weapons stolen and the LRA becoming more of a threat with their new, stolen M-16’s and grenade launchers.

In 2010, the U.S Congress took action towards stopping Kony and the LRA, moving 100 U.S. military advisors into the area to help combat the LRA. They were ordered not to engage unless in self-defence, but instead were there to train, assist and provide intelligence.

So, the LRA has been around for a long time and we’ve not been doing a huge amount to stop them… so why now is there a massive movement to take Kony down?

Food for thought

On 3rd February 2012, UK and Uganda made signed a deal for oil production, and interestingly enough, Uganda struck oil recently, so it has now become a hot spot for the world’s most profitable energy source.

But wait a minute, we can’t just barge in there and take their oil. That’s wrong… and bad. We need to be world police and stop the bad guys, not be the bad guys. To do this, people have to think that the reason behind military action is justified. What better way to do this than jump on the back of a legitimate good cause that’s already got some momentum, like the Invisible Children.

You can see the conversation between the military leaders, the government and oil companies now: “The covert operation didn’t work in 2010, that Kony is a tough cookie… but we’ve now got oil refineries and pipelines in Uganda and central Africa, we could do with protecting these properly otherwise Kony will have his mitts on them… hmm, what can we do? Wait a minute, what about those Invisible Children people… everybody loves them, let’s show our support for them and watch the madness unfold”

Four days later they have 40 million views, and a website where you can show your support. Win.The government has finally caught up and everybody is loving it.

I’m not necessarily saying that they are behind this video, but it’s very convenient that they allow this to be on YouTube. Imagine a similar video about China. I suspect that would get removed rather quickly!

If it is a completely legitimate affair, then it’s also very convenient, and oozes propaganda. It was only a matter of time before governments were of the opinion that if they can’t beat social media, they might as well join in.