After countless people fled from war and oppression in Africa and Asia to Europe and after numerous terror attacks shocked the public, populist movements are currently gaining influence. This manifests in the success of the German right-wing party AfD, as well as in the populist campaigns that supported Great Britain’s withdrawal from the EU and Donald Trump’s election as President of the United States. In all of that, media play an important role as they have been possibly used for propagandistic purposes.
Trends and issues like these were picked up by the conference “Fake news, hashtags & social bots: New methods of populist propaganda”, which was hosted by the Institute of Media Studies of the University of Tübingen on May 15, 2017. The concluding talk was given by Dr. Lena Frischlich (PropStop project). Guided by the question “One ‘big lie’ or rather many small ones?”, she analyzed how online propaganda is constructed and what effects it can unfold – both on macro and on micro level. Other speakers were Alexander Fischer (University of Bamberg) who discussed the ethics if manipulative communication strategies, Prof. Dr. Olaf Kramer (University of Tübingen) whose talk dealt with populist rhetoric, and Dr. Bernd Zywietz (Uni Mainz) who described fake news as a phenomenon which oscillates between parody and propaganda.