Philipp Grüll at Euractiv: “When Germany takes over the European Council Presidency on 1 July, Berlin will have plenty to do. The draft programme seen by EURACTIV Germany focuses on the major challenges of our time: climate change, digitisation, and the coronavirus.
Berlin wants to establish ‘European Digital Diplomacy’ by creating a ‘Digital Diplomacy Network’ to exist alongside the ‘Technospheres USA and China’.
This should not only be about keeping European industries competitive. After all, the term “digital diplomacy” is not new.
Ilan Manor, a researcher at Oxford University and author of numerous papers on digital diplomacy, defines it as “the use of digital tools to achieve foreign policy goals.”
This definition is intentionally broad, Manor told EURACTIV Germany, because technology can be used in so many areas of international relations….
Manor divides the development of this digital public diplomacy into two phases.
In the first one, from 2008 to 2015, governments took the first cautious steps. They experimented and launched random and often directionless online activities. Foreign ministries and embassies set up social media accounts. Sweden opened a virtual embassy in the online video game “Second Life.”
It was only in the second phase, from 2015 to the present, that foreign ministries began to act more strategically. They used “Big Data” to record public opinion in other countries, and also to track down online propaganda against their own country.
As an example, Manor cites the Russian embassy in the United Kingdom, which is said to have deliberately disseminated anti-EU narratives prior to the Brexit referendum, packaged in funny and seemingly innocent Internet memes that spread rapidly….(More)”.