Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.
Interesting thought, isn't it? This also happens with one's own self. Keep telling a lie, and eventually you, too, will believe it. What happens when you believe the lie? Is this not where conspiracies come from? Or how about phenomenons? Social tendencies, anyone?
Seems to be manipulation at its best. There is more than one type of manipulation, really. Manipulation includes, but is not limited to; lying, ulterior motives, half-truths, withholding information, twisting information towards one's favor, taking things out of context, playing with another's passions/buttons/heart strings, and anything that is not of pure intent.
We all have done it before. Who hasn't asked someone for a favor when the person would be most likely to say yes? How about going to mom instead of dad (or visa-versa) because you knew they'd say yes when the other wouldn't? It becomes more dangerous when someone has a person hanging on their every word, or obeying them especially when the intent is not pure.
But still, everyone has the ability to refuse to do something. We all make choices. What about consequences? What about them? There are consequence for every action, or lack thereof.
Really, if people were to stand against the social norms, the authority would crumble. One cannot be forced to do something against their will.
A man may well bring a horse to the water, but he cannot make him drink.
~John Heywood (1546)
One can refuse authority too. One may be charged with a crime, but do they have to follow the orders? It's all about choices. Yes, one can be sent to jail, but do the laws and rules matter if one refuses to abide by them? This affect is by far more noticeable when a group does it. Thus Riots and rebels come into play. If there is a large enough riot, things are changed. Laws and rules are truly subjective, and can be changed.
Who are you going to let take control? Will you have it for yourself, and take charge of your life and surroundings? Or will you allow someone else to, and hope for the best while following along?