One can notice certain similarities between domains of

  • biology, in which live organisms cope with viruses
  • sociology, where societies cope with destructive ideologies

Drawing an analogy, we can imagine practices of social 'vaccination', where society may create supervised 'honeypot' extremist organizations which attract and supervise individuals succeptible to certain spectrum of 'viral' and destructive ideas.

I assume that intelligence agencies are practicing something similar to this, but is there a sociological theory describing this approach?

  • 4
    This article has an alternate notion of "inoculation" against misinformation, called "prebunking", although the study here seems to raise doubts about its effectiveness.
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented Mar 29, 2022 at 2:14
  • 2
    "supervised 'honeypot' extremist organizations" like Stalin's Operation Trust, and perhaps (some suspect) QAnon. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Trust
    – user4894
    Commented Mar 29, 2022 at 4:08
  • 1
    @Hypnosifl What exactly is a "conspiracy theory?" The granddaddy conspiracy theory of them all is the JFK assassination. Yet the 1977 House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that, "The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available to it, that Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy." Most people don't realize that it's the official position of the US Congress that the JFK assassination was a conspiracy. So who decides what is true? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – user4894
    Commented Mar 29, 2022 at 4:51
  • @user4894 - The article seemed to be about new claims bubbling up on social media, perhaps they looked for cases where they could trace the origin and see that they were unfounded? It also mentions past use of "prebunking" to try to deal with new false claims by deniers of anthropogenic climate change. I don't think they were going after long-preexisting conspiracy theories like ones about the JFK assassination--certainly it's possible some of them (especially ones that wouldn't have required large numbers of people to be in on it) are true.
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented Mar 29, 2022 at 21:13
  • (cont.) However, in the specific case of the JFK assassination, while there might have been some conspiracy I don't think that 1977 report is good evidence for it. According to the same wikipedia article you linked, the sole piece of evidence that led them to conclude a conspiracy was an analysis of a dictabelt police audio recording, but a later National Academy of Sciences report from a panel of experts unanimously concluded that the dictabelt recording didn't actually show evidence of a second shot.
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented Mar 29, 2022 at 21:17


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .