Guardian reports that the USA‘s military has commissioned the development of software for it to influence users of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter by using false online identities for the purpose of disseminating pro-American propaganda.
A Californian corporation has been given a $2.76 million contract with United States Central Command (Centcom), an organisations that supervises US armed operations in the Middle East and Central Asia to develop the program.
The software will create the “online persona management service” which will allow the US military to operate multiple identities worldwide. Whilst the technology is not ‘brand new’ as similar systems are in existence and are widely used by US law enforcement and surveillance agencies, it is the first time that the US government has openly acknowledged the strategy.
For example, the program, Operation Earnest Voice (OEV), had been put in to place as in Iraq as a psychological warfare tool to disrupt al-Qaida‘s operations against coalition forces there. It is now reported to be a $200M program which is being used to thwart jihadists in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Middle East.
[War on Terror Contributor]
- You: Revealed: US military’s social media operation (guardian.co.uk)
- US military launches Operation Sock Puppet, pays contractor $2.76m to generate phony Facebook, Twitter psyops accounts (boingboing.net)
- U.S. Military Developing False Online Personalities to Counter “Enemy Propaganda” (mashable.com)
- Enemy’s Nightmare Coming True in Afghanistan, Mattis Says (waronterrornews.typepad.com)
- Spy bloggers not ‘friending’ U.S. targets, Centcom says (terryolgin.wordpress.com)
- Bloggers beware: You may be punk’d by the Pentagon (rt.com)