Here we are. March 2017. The time memes made their way onto Q&A.
ABC’s premiere panel show didn’t just fall into the topic of maniacally shareable online content, oh no. Last night’s show, centred around the proliferation of fake news and misinformation, questioned whether political memes really do play a part in shaping public opinion.
Panellist Claire Wardle, who serves as research director at fact-championing First Draft, reckons they do. According to her, people dismiss the power of inflammatory text slapped over an image, but “this idea of directing the culture, we need to recognise this.”
Citing the weird, ethno-nationalist meme ecosystem which propelled President Donald Trump’s alt-right supporters and subsequent attempts to influence the French election in far-right candidate Marine Le Pen’s favour, Wardle said memes have “become weaponised.”
“The idea that you can drop this seemingly… this visual into the culture, when actually it is being directed, when it’s being used systematically and pushed out.
“And you’ve seen this through automated bot, the same meme being pushed out, you can’t dismiss it.”
Her final take? The fact that people with deeply skewed political leanings and a working knowledge of the modern “information ecosystem”
may actually have the ability to meme someone into power.
Get ready for the Palmer-enaissance, we guess. Watch the clip below:
Source and photo: Q&A / ABC / Twitter.