How Memes became weapons in cultural wars


They seem to be internet memes harmless enough. A few pictures of cats with some grammatically incorrect text – what could go wrong? Well, memes have come a long way since the early days of the internet. For more than a decade, memes have been used as weapons in cultural wars. And they are even more convincing than most people think. A well-placed meme on someone’s social media timeline can lead them into a rabbit hole of radicalization, misinformation and extremism.

This week on Gadget Lab, we talk to Emily Dreyfuss, senior editor at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center for Media, Politics and Public Policy about how memes shaped politics and culture.

Show Notes

Read more about all kinds of misinformation at the Harvard Shorenstein Center A book of cases of media manipulation. Read Angela Watercutter’s story about Bernie Sanders glove.


Emily recommends looking at what happens to an artichoke if you let it bloom as well American Nations lähde: Colin Woodard. Mike recommends r / randomly, which takes you to a different suborder each time you click. Lauren recommends an HBO show White lotus.

You can find Emily Dreyfuss on Twitter @EmilyDreyfuss. Lauren Goode is @LaurenGoode. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Call the main phone number at @GadgetLab. The production of the show is signed by Boone Ashworth (@booneashworth). Our themed music is by Solar Keys.

If you have feedback on the show or just want to come in to win a $ 50 gift card, fill out our short listener survey here.

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