How fake news in the Middle East is a powder keg waiting to blow

The Independent - Tech 

Conspiracy theories are not a new phenomenon in the Middle East. Many governments and influential organisations in the region – if not all of them – have long thrived on the power of disinformation and propaganda, which not only confuses enemies but keeps citizens in a state of pliant uncertainty. That Russian stories spread by legions of Twitter bots and trolls managed to so spectacularly derail the 2016 US election has conclusively proved that we are living in a post-truth era. The impact the new fake news ecosystem could have when the Middle East's appetite for half-truths meets increasingly sophisticated methods of spreading political disinformation, however, are not yet known – and could have devastating consequences. The possibility for fresh disruption in the increasingly polarised region is immense, said Dr Jean Marc Rikli, a research fellow at King's College London and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy.

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