What does Psyops mean?

Psychological operations

When we talk about ‘Psyops’, we’re referring to strategic communication tactics used to manipulate the way people think or feel. The goal is to influence the audience towards a particular outcome that benefits the one conducting the psyops. A well-known example can be seen in the U.S. military’s global operations designed to guide the thoughts and emotions of individuals, groups, and even entire governments.

Psyops can happen on both a small and a large scale. Let’s say a British spy persuades a foreign official with access to top-secret information to hand over classified documents – that’s a small-scale psyop. On a larger scale, imagine if Britain tried to sway the public opinion in a foreign country against a particular politician, using leaflets or online campaigns to highlight their negatives and sway votes to a more Britain-friendly candidate. That’s a large-scale psyop.

It’s not just the U.S. or Britain that engage in psyops. Governments worldwide use these tactics, like the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. Even news outlets and other organizations that spread information can be accused of conducting psyops. You’ll often see accusations of psyops in online discussions, especially in the comments sections of news articles and on social media platforms like Twitter and Reddit.

Example for using ‘Psyops’ in a conversation

Hey, have you heard of psyops? πŸ€”

Yeah, it stands for psychological operations. It’s when they use communication methods to manipulate people’s thoughts and emotions. 🧠

Exactly! Like when the U.S. military tries to influence others’ reasoning and feelings to align with their goals. πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

Oh, got it! So, it can be on a small scale, like spies getting sensitive documents, or on a large scale, like trying to sway voters in another country. πŸ—³οΈ