How memes became weapons in the culture war


Internet memes seem Harmless enough. A few cat pictures with some grammatically incorrect text-what will go wrong? Well, memes have come a long way since the early days of the Internet. For more than ten years, memes have been used as weapons of cultural warfare. They are even more convincing than most people realize. Putting good memes on someone’s social media timeline can lead them into radicalization, misinformation, and extremism traps.

This week at Gadget Lab, We discussed how memes shape politics and culture with Emily Dreyfuss, senior editor of the Scholenstein Center for Media, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University.

Show notes

Read more about all kinds of false information at the Harvard Scholenstein Center Media Operation Case Manual. Read Angela Watercutter’s story Bernie Sanders mitten meme.


Emily recommends that you check what happens if you let the artichoke bloom, and American countries Colin Woodard.Mike recommends r/random, Which will take you to a different subreddit every time you click.Lauren recommends HBO shows White lotus.

Emily Dreyfuss can be found on Twitter @Emily Dreyfus. Lauren Goode is @Lauren Goode. Michael Carroll is @Dim Sum Fight. Bling Main Hotline @Gadget Lab. The show is hosted by Boone Ashworth (@Bunashworth).Our theme music is Solar key.

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