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Information asymmetry in the formation of the information space

Обновлено 29.03.2024 15:51


Information asymmetry is the most effective type of information impact, since the opponent does not have a proper response to it, or he gives an inadequate response. We looked at an example from Chinese history, when the gates of a city are open, which should symbolize strength, actually corresponded to weakness. Considering this answer as a sign, we can say that it contains a violation of the relationship between form and content. The chosen form does not correspond to the real situation, but pushes the opponent to another, more favorable for the communicator.

As already noted, a riddle and an anecdote can be considered as elementary messages with a violation of information symmetry. The riddle has a specially created asymmetric shape, which should stop the opponent at the metalinguistic level: he must guess an elementary word, i.e. the opponent gets into the position of a child who does not know the words because he does not know the code.

Anecdote is an equally ancient way of expression, in which humor also contributes to the creation of information asymmetry. Functionally, the joke (let's remember the Soviet era) was implemented to counteract the official message. When in the official press L. Brezhnev was modeled as a "wise secretary general", in an anecdote, on the contrary, L. Brezhnev was a "stupid secretary general". The anecdote responds to the desire of the officialdom to conduct its own information line. This is a reaction to the official interpretation of reality, as a result of which the necessary compensation occurs, the mass consciousness introduces its own version of the interpretation of reality.

The post-Soviet joke about the new Russians is also a response to the officially declared market policy that gave rise to this new social class. This response indirectly expresses the dissatisfaction of the population with their social situation. And this is compensation again, because the rich man is modeled as stupid, which achieves some kind of balance.

The BBC or Radio Liberty reports were also asymmetric, as they told about those events that were not covered by official Soviet sources of information. The messages of the "enemy voice" actually consider the same objects, only give them a new interpretation. For example, war is considered not from the position of the state, but from the position of a person, his biological fears, and the desire to survive.

Information asymmetry in an anecdote or in a riddle is achieved due to the fact that one real feature is maximally hyperbolized, displacing all other characteristics. Also, only one characteristic is noted in the leaflet, moreover, the opposite of the one that is officially supported. This is a violation of the priorities set by the official discourse. For example, the age of the Secretary general may be a secondary characteristic for officialdom, but the primary one for an anecdote. The mass consciousness is unable to cover the event in all its complexity, it focuses on a small number of characteristics.

In general, the public information system should have both official and unofficial channels of influence. I. Stalin, for example, demanded the creation of such an asymmetry when he proposed to reorient the Literary Gazette or create an unofficial telegraph agency with it. According to the memoirs of K. Simonov, I.

Stalin said: "You must understand that we cannot always officially speak out about what we would like, such cases happen in politics, and Literaturnaya Gazeta should help us in this. And further: "We may suggest that you create your own unofficial telegraphic agency at Literaturnaya Gazeta to receive and distribute unofficial information." In fact, we are talking about the sources of the generation of asymmetric information. And later such an agency was created - it became APN. By the way, the book mentioned by K.

Simonov was also published by APN. Stalin was a master of creating asymmetric situations. K. Simonov recalls his feelings when Stalin made a speech at one of the plenums of the Central Committee, where he asked to be relieved of his post as general secretary. He recalls the fright of Malenkov, who led this meeting: "Malenkov's face, his movements, his clearly raised hands were a direct plea to all those present to immediately and decisively refuse Stalin's request. And then, drowning out the words, they already sounded behind Stalin's back: "No, we ask you to stay!" Or something like that, the hall buzzed with the words: "No! Must not. Please stay. Please take your request back!" (p. 245).

Ordinary communication is aimed at removing information asymmetry, as a result of its action, the knowledge of the source and recipient of information is equalized. In the case of propaganda influence, information asymmetry is specifically maintained and reinforced. In general, destabilizing structures try to create an imbalance, as a result of which autonomous parts of the system are pushed into their own behavior, which becomes non-systemic. (The usual behavior in this regard is the work of mass media, which provide everyone with the only way to interpret the event. Fashion as a social institution also aims to create unified clothing trends). In this case, the information impact may lead to unacceptable behavior of the autonomous part from the point of view of a large system. This can be: a) stimulation of new behavior b) cessation of previous behavior.

An important element of increasing the effectiveness of information impact is non-verbal support for verbal action. It can be a combination of the "bombing postcard" type.

Nonverbal actions make more impression on behavior than verbal actions. Multi-channel influence is more effective than single-channel influence.

Information asymmetry makes it possible to develop specific patterns of influence. The dossier on T. Dyachenko (Yeltsin's daughter), kept in the Kremlin, gives, for example, the following advice: "When working with Tatyana Borisovna, it is necessary to use such a scheme: when giving her information that she is not independent and completely controlled by her father. Tatiana immediately begins to conflict with Boris Nikolaevich and commit "independent" actions, therefore, she needs to carefully "prompt" these actions and maintain her complex of constant slight resentment against her father. In this case, we get a strong leverage."

Due to information asymmetry, a characteristic is "turned on" in the form of the presentation of "new" information, which begins to generate other types of behavior.

The role of information asymmetry is also increasing because propaganda communication is really shifting to an area where the enemy has weaknesses. During the Cold War, for example, the West made efforts not in the ideological plane of confrontation, but demonstrated a different standard of living, which eventually turned out to be the right strategy.

According to experts, the news supports the current distribution of forces in society. This applies primarily to official news. Unofficial news, on the contrary, tries to disrupt this distribution. For example, for this purpose, reports are being created about the corruption of the upper classes of society, which are used both in political struggle and in propaganda during a military confrontation.

Information asymmetry can explain the media's love of emergencies (earthquakes, floods, Holodomor). On the one hand, such extraordinary events ideally erase previous messages from the public consciousness, saving our memory. On the other hand, an emergency is always a manifestation of asymmetry, since it is not predictable, and this is exactly what corresponds to the essence of the news. The same can be said about sports competitions, the results of which are far from always predictable, which increases interest in them and gives the media the opportunity to use them to switch the attention of the population.

Information asymmetry is the main element of the information struggle, forming the information space of any state. Official messages, which are predictable and, therefore, symmetrical, get on the screen due to the fundamentally asymmetric position of the government, which itself sets the priorities of messages. Thus, asymmetry is achieved on another level.

As mass media researchers define, the press and television play a secondary role, the primary role belongs to the government, which can identify an event as threatening to society. The mass media only expands and expands the representation provided by the government.

A research group from the University of Glasgow argues that the mass media is "systematically organized in such a way as to depict a picture of the world, which is a reproduction of the dominance relations existing in society." At the same time, news is considered as a selective interpretation of events.

English researchers, analyzing the coverage of crisis events in the press, identified the following twelve characteristics (eight main factors and four related to culture):

1. Frequency - the more the frequency of an event coincides with the frequency of news, the more likely it is that it will be treated as news;

2. Amplitudes - an appropriate level, for example, of violence, is needed in order for it to be considered as news;

3. Ambiguity - the less ambiguity, the more likely it is to be noticed;

4. Relevance - An event must be culturally relevant to be seen as news;

5. Coincidence - the more expected and desirable an event is, the sooner it will become news;

6. In addition, we note that the last two factors are unexpected: an event must be rare and unexpected to be news;

7. If an event has become news, it will remain news, even if the amplitude decreases;

8. Composition - news is arranged in such a way as to create a balance between different messages.

Many of these characteristics emphasize information asymmetry. The four cultural factors that determine news are as follows:

9. Elite nations are more likely to become the subject of news;

10. The elite strata of society are more likely to become the subject of news;

11. The more personalized an event is, the more likely it is that it will become news;

12. The more negative the event, the more likely it is that it will become news.

Television sets its own additional requirements: the event must be dramatic, attractive, and entertaining.

These factors determine the difference between a real event and symbolic news. At the same time, information asymmetry is based on the possibility of covering an event based on its various aspects, creating different types of news. For example, as we have already noted, war can be interpreted either from patriotic or kindred positions.

In the first case, official sources have a greater influence, in the second - unofficial ones. Therefore, it is asymmetry that allows, if not to defeat the strongest, then to cause significant damage to him, because it always finds weaknesses in the "defense" of the enemy; An unpredictable behavior makes a strong impression on the interlocutor, it is better fixed in memory. L. Zamyatin recalled the harsh tone of M. Thatcher in one of the conversations with Mikhail Gorbachev: "Now she resembled an angry tigress who was defending her protected field.

But maybe the prime minister was just overworked, lost control of herself, and became a prisoner of emotions? Powell confided to me, "Our lady played the conversation exactly the way she wanted to play it." I have no doubt that if Thatcher had not been a major political figure, she could have become an actress. However, she was like that in politics.

For propaganda purposes, information asymmetry can always be applied, since in every society there is a confrontation between official and unofficial ideology. This is propaganda for the enemy.

In the system of internal propaganda, for example, in the case of an election campaign, there is also always a different view of events, which immediately begins to generate a different type of information. This information is also fundamentally asymmetric, because the other side does not use it. The only way to prevent this is to provide your audience with both negative and positive information to create appropriate immunity. At the same time, negative information should be accompanied by appropriate counterarguments. The appearance of it on the part of the enemy in this case will no longer have terrible consequences.

The former Soviet Union did not take this into account, thus creating a huge information gap, which allowed propagandists on the other hand to use information asymmetry quite freely.

The information space of modern society is formed thanks to the work of several powerful information sources. If at the same time there is an information asymmetry that can be used by someone, the spin doctor tries to correct this situation.

The spin doctor's specialty is correcting the consequences of negative coverage of an event in the news. The White House, for example, generates the necessary news itself, which potentially attracts the attention of the mass consciousness precisely to its interpretation of what is happening.

It should be noted that the actions of not all political figures are equally covered in the media. The actions of someone are covered in detail, the actions of another are hushed up. Let's call it lighting asymmetry.

This can also include attempts to cover the actions of an exclusively positive or exclusively negative political actor, which is especially evident during the election campaign. A typical example is the coverage of the election campaign of D. Trump and D. Biden in 2020.

At the same time, the problem of automatism of perception arises, since information asymmetry disappears due to getting used to one type of interpretation.

A feature of real news is an appropriate balance, which removes the automatism of perception and increases confidence in the information source. At the same time, this does not violate technology: for example, 70% of BBC news is a reflection of events that were planned in advance. In general, the technology of news creation provides for the placement of journalists in places where mass news is generated (for example, in parliament).

News is a temporary creation of information asymmetry. When it becomes known to everyone, the news of the next day crosses out the news of the previous day, supporting the principle of information asymmetry.

Propaganda as a communication technology. Propaganda impact on a person is an important achievement of the twentieth century, when a large number of new professions related to communication arose. E. Rogers believes that advertising, public relations, and political campaigns are propaganda, because they have an orientation towards a greater gain for the communicator, and not for the one who receives the message, that is the interests of the communicator are more important in this case. By the way, E. Rogers defines propaganda precisely as mass influence.

In general, influence in propaganda goes from the communicator to the leaders of influence, and only then to the population.

For example, USIA focuses its exchange programs on 10-20 percent of the population as its target audience, defining them as having the potential to influence, higher education and taking appropriate part in political or economic decision-making processes. Interestingly, even the most ardent opponents of the United States are also on the list of priorities for inviting a guest visit.

The massive refusal of young people to smoke in the United States shows the effectiveness of such methodologies. Practically the same methods underlie psychological operations as an influence not on one's own, but on someone else's population.

The use of communication technologies in the military sphere also requires separate consideration. Their introduction has qualitatively changed military strategy and tactics. For example, researchers determine that today, on the one hand, clear boundaries between different levels of military operations disappear, on the other hand, new connections arise when purely informational actions can be used in response to military actions, which can, for example, disable the New York Stock Exchange or the Federal Reserve System. There is an expansion of the space of military influence and a reduction in its time, as a result of which the geographically defined traditional theater of military operations disappears.

Operational and tactical actions in the information space are now ahead of purely physical actions.

Analysts propose a number of basic provisions defining the generation of an information product for military purposes:

information resources should be guarded as carefully as nuclear weapons;

Information operations disrupt the balance of power;

information operations are poorly recognized in the initial period of the war;

accurate information operations do not cause environmental damage, so they can be used faster than nuclear weapons;

information operations can be aimed at destroying the economic system;

information operations can lead to the degradation of national consciousness;

Information operations can lead nations to make incorrect judgments and decisions;

information operations and technology significantly enhance the military effectiveness of weapons systems.

Western countries have significant experience in the work of psychological operations units. Russia has extensive experience in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Tajikistan, and Syria. This experience is very necessary, because this area is fundamentally applied. No theory is as interesting here as practice.

Fundamentally, military control over psychological operations was necessary for two reasons. On the one hand, propaganda is strongly linked to military operations because it supports them. In addition, effective psychological operations must rely on the planning of military operations, in such situations there can be no independent units. Time was a very important factor. The leaders of these operations also used this saying: "The right postcard in the right place at the right time is the essence of the whole program." It was also believed that at first propaganda should be quite careful, inconspicuous.

As time passed and the enemy weakened, the propaganda became clearer. At the last stage, it was already bold and expressive, i.e. the main factor can be considered the gradual communicative influence.

Thus, there are three stages in the development of an effective propaganda campaign.

At the first stage, doubt is introduced into the ranks of the enemy regarding the military situation. Information about the victories of their allies in various local battles was proved to the Japanese. Such news should contain maps and photographs to show the enemy the power of the units that oppose him. Japan's isolation among other countries was emphasized. At the end, the houses of the Japanese were shown to evoke nostalgia for their relatives.

The second stage began when it was felt that an Allied attack was becoming inevitable. The goals were the same as in the first stage: to reduce morale and reduce the effectiveness of combat operations. The impossibility of resisting the Allied landings was demonstrated. In order to conduct the dispute, the enemy's camp emphasized the inability of the Japanese naval and air forces to protect ground troops.

The third stage began when the troops landed and already came into contact with the enemy. The emphasis in the leaflets was no longer on general victories, but on specific regional counteraction. The news focused on the enemy's weaknesses, known from intelligence information (lack of food, illness, desertion). There have already been calls for surrender here, as the troops have made contact.

It can be concluded that this propaganda campaign was quite systematic and scientifically based. Reviews were constantly being created in which the morale of the enemy was analyzed. The consistency is evidenced even by the expression that was used then: "One good leaflet is better than ten of some kind." A systematic approach is manifested, for example, in the advice of linguists who recommended not to use the word "Nazis" in postcards, since it could be unknown to the Japanese, and it is better to talk about "Germans" when it came to the European theater of operations. They generally recommended writing less about Europe, and more about what directly concerns Japan. It all comes down to generating effective messages.

The action plan for psychological operations developed in 1944 defined psychological warfare as any activity against hostile forces, with the exception of conventional and guerrilla actions, as well as physical sabotage. Interestingly, the surrender of a Japanese soldier was defined as a secondary goal, the primary goal was considered to weaken the resistance and reduce the morale of the enemy.

The well-known cyberneticist S. Bohr offers an interesting propaganda experience of working with the population on behalf of government structures. This experience has been applied on a large scale in Chile. This can also be considered a meta-propaganda.

As you can see, the experience of the West in conducting psychological operations is quite significant. In addition to dozens of military conflicts, it should include the Cold War, glasnost, and perestroika. At the same time, the target audience of the USIA has always been the elites of the countries, even the radio propaganda was directed at them, and not at all. For example, G. Rawnsley writes about the attention of the Voice of America to Hungarian intellectuals during the events of 1956.

We have a clear, proven experience of operating in a fairly aggressive communication environment. The Soviet Union had its best experience, after all, in the situation of the accompanying communication environment, which was its own country. In the case of an aggressive environment, all propaganda efforts were nullified, let us recall, for example, the social roles of L. Brezhnev as general secretary and as the hero of numerous anecdotes.

The countries of the post-Soviet space are in such a disadvantageous position today that the most important thing for them should be the development of an information deterrence doctrine, to be able not only to generate responses to threats (to be reactive), but also independently and actively generate information that reduces the threat level (to be proactive). The fact that almost any action in the information sphere is characterized by the above-mentioned asymmetry allows post-Soviet countries to be self-sufficient. It is for this reason, for example, that terrorists, being a small force, can keep a large state in suspense, which is a great force.

The doctrine of information deterrence should be implemented by specialists who are able to carry out information actions in a rapid response mode. Among these actions are the following:

generating responses to negative messages, actually generating negativity about the objects and actions of the enemy;

generating positive messages about your own objects and events; - the ability to use rumors in the information struggle;

the ability to use postcards;

constant monitoring of the information space, since the initial stage of the information war, as a rule, goes almost unnoticed.

All these actions allow the modern state to be protected from threats coming from inside or outside. An important component should also be the training and retraining of specialists in the field of information warfare (in the United States, every military university already provides such training).

Different countries implement different information technologies in different ways, they are clever in one, they can be difficult to lift in another. Such cultural differences regarding technology must also be taken into account.