Meme Wars: How the Internet Changed Politics from Occupy to the Insurrection

November 18, 2022
GBH Studios, 1 Guest Street, Boston MA
Join Shorenstein Center Research Director Dr. Joan Donovan and Technology and Social Change Researcher Brian Friedberg in this event hosted by the Forum Network at GBH.

Memes have long been dismissed as inside jokes with no political importance. Nothing could be further from the truth. Memes are bedrock to the strategy of conspiracists such as Alex Jones, provocateurs like Milo Yiannopoulos, white nationalists like Nick Fuentes, and tacticians like Roger Stone. While the media and most politicians struggle to harness the organizing power of the internet, the “redpill right” weaponizes memes, pushing conspiracy theories and disinformation into the mainstream to drag people down the rabbit hole. These meme wars stir strong emotions, deepen partisanship, and get people off their keyboards and into the streets–and the steps of the US Capitol. Join Shorenstein Center disinformation and media manipulation experts Dr. Joan Donovan and Brian Friedberg in a discussion hosted by the Forum Network at GBH about how far-right extremist communities online are using memes and social media to bring new people to their ideologies, and drive real-world actions.

This event will be moderated by Boston Globe Tech Reporter Anissa Gardizy and held in-person at the GBH Studios, with an option for attending virtually.

Register to attend in-person.

Register to attend virtually.