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black propaganda

n. false or unverified propaganda, especially appearing to come from an enemy's own sources; disinformation.

Black propaganda

Black propaganda is false information and material that purports to be from a source on one side of a conflict, but is actually from the opposing side. It is typically used to vilify, embarrass, or misrepresent the enemy. Black propaganda contrasts with grey propaganda, the source of which is not identified, and white propaganda, in which the real source is declared and usually more accurate information is given, albeit slanted, distorted and omissive. Black propaganda is covert in nature in that its aims, identity, significance, and sources are hidden.

The major characteristic of black propaganda is that the people are not aware that someone is influencing them, and do not feel that they are being pushed in a certain direction. Black propaganda purports to emanate from a source other than the true source. This type of propaganda is associated with covert psychological operations. Sometimes the source is concealed or credited to a false authority and spreads lies, fabrications, and deceptions. Black propaganda is the "big lie", including all types of creative deceit. Black propaganda relies on the willingness of the receiver to accept the credibility of the source. If the creators or senders of the black propaganda message do not adequately understand their intended audience, the message may be misunderstood, seem suspicious, or fail altogether.

Governments can be noted to conduct black propaganda for reasons that include: A) by disguising their direct involvement a government may be more likely to succeed in convincing an otherwise unbelieving target audience, and B) there are diplomatic reasons behind the use of black propaganda. Black propaganda is necessary to obfuscate a government's involvement in activities that may be detrimental to its foreign policies.