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Is America Prepared for Meme Warfare?

Memes function like IEDs.

Memes, as any alt-right Pepe sorcerer will tell you, are not just frivolous entertainment. They are magic, the stuff by which reality is made and manipulated. What's perhaps surprising is that this view is not so far off from one within the US defense establishment, where a growing body of research explores how memes can be used to win wars. This recent election proved that memes, some of which have been funded by politically motivated millionaires and foreign governments, can be potent weapons, but they pose a particular challenge to a superpower like the United States. Memes appear to function like the IEDs of information warfare. They are natural tools of an insurgency; great for blowing things up, but likely to sabotage the desired effects when handled by the larger actor in an asymmetric conflict. Just think back to the NYPD's hashtag boondoggle for an example of how quickly things can go wrong when big institutions try to control messaging on the internet. That doesn't mean research should be abandoned or memes disposed of altogether, but as the NYPD case and other examples show, the establishment isn't really built for meme warfare. Read more on Motherboard