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Fake News: Propaganda

How to Identify and Avoid Fake News

Propaganda Explained

Memes & Social Media

Social media makes propaganda easier to spread. Memes are extremely popular and fun, but can often contain propaganda messages. 

Anti-Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook meme. Attack propaganda that suggests Zuckerberg is associated with the terrorist group, ISIS.

Found on Mind Over Media

This popular meme is an example of the oversimplification propaganda technique. Most of information on illegal immigrants found here is misleading, only somewhat true or completely false.

Propaganda for Good Causes

Although propaganda is often associated with insidious or negative motivations, it doesn't always have to be. Advertisers often use propaganda techniques to sell products. Think about all the clothing, shoe and toy commercials you have seen. Most likely you will notice some of the techniques mentioned here. Some of these advertisements are even used to promote health and well-being. Consider the anti-smoking ad below. It activates strong emotions of fear:

Influence & Persuasion in Advertising

Activate Strong Emotions Example


Plays on the fear people have of a home invasion/robbery

From Cambridge Analytical Found on Toward Data Science  


Plays on the anger and empathy stemming from the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson

Example From: Mind Over Media 

Simplify Information & Ideas Example

Oversimplifies the effects of taxes, socialism and communism. 

Found on Pintrest 

Respond to Audience Needs & Values Example

Sense of Family:

Appeals to the bond between a father and son

From Cambridge Analytical Found on Toward Data Science  

Attack Opponents Example

Political attack ad against Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. Compares Hillary to a movie villain and puppet:

Found on: Mind Over Media

Attack ad on CNN that insinuates they report fake news:

Found on Mind over Media


Doctored picture of Parkland survivor David Hogg promoting a false conspiracy that he is an actor:

Found on Mind Over Media