Propaganda is a powerful communications technique meant to mislead and/or promote a particular cause or ideology.

We’ll explore propaganda more in-depth in a separate post, but let’s break down a tweet to help you spot the method on your own.

First, some propaganda terms you should know:

These are just a few terms our state’s executive branch employs on a regular basis via their social media accounts. Social media plays a big part in the rapid spread of disinformation and propaganda.

Name Calling, Appeal to Fear, Labeling, and Loaded Language are some favorites of Alexa Henning, communications director to Governor Sarah Sanders:

Ms. Henning pulls these communications levers on a regular basis. And because it’s from the governor’s comms director, it has weight. She often uses loaded language, repeating words and phrases, hoping the message sticks with her audience.

Repeating a technique over and over is also known as Ad Nauseam. If you take a scroll back through Henning’s tweets, you’ll find the same words and phrases repeated over time. The goal of the repetition is to convince an audience that the labeling and loaded language accurately reflects reality, even if it doesn’t.

Now that you’ve seen some of these techniques in action, you can look for them in the future. Recognizing these techniques is critical to fighting disinformation.