Most people use social media like Facebook and Twitter to share photos of friends and family, chat with friends and strangers about random and amusing diversions, or follow their favorite websites, bands and television shows.
But what does the US military use those same networks for? Well, we can’t tell you: That’s “classified,” a CENTCOM spokesman recently informed Raw Story.
One use that’s confirmed, however, is the manipulation of social media through the use of fake online “personas” managed by the military. Recently the US Air Force had solicited private sector vendors for something called “persona management software.” Such a technology would allow single individuals to command virtual armies of fake, digital “people” across numerous social media portals.
These “personas” were to have detailed, fictionalized backgrounds, to make them believable to outside observers, and a sophisticated identity protection service was to back them up, preventing suspicious readers from uncovering the real person behind the account. They even worked out ways to game geolocating services, so these “personas” could be virtually inserted anywhere in the world, providing ostensibly live commentary on real events, even while the operator was not really present.
When Raw Story first reported on the contract for this software, it was unclear what the Air Force wanted with it or even if it had been acquired. The potential for misuse, however, was abundantly clear.
A fake virtual army of people could be used to help create the impression of consensus opinion in online comment threads, or manipulate social media to the point where valuable stories are suppressed.
Ultimately, this can have the effect of causing a net change to the public’s opinions and understanding of key world events.
Forgotten British Heroes Campaign 2015-08-04 0:16
The text of the letter from the Forgotten British Heroes Campaign to the Israel ambassador in London, Daniel Taub.
This will be delivered to the Israel Embassy on Saturday 1st August, the day on which the Campaign will hold a wreath-laying and then a meeting at the site of a notorious Zionist terrorist bombing near to Trafalgar Square (the former British ...
Executive arrested over disappearance of $390 million in Bitcoins 2015-08-03 23:38 Mark Karpeles, head of collapsed MTGox Bitcoin exchange held by Japanese police
Japanese police on Saturday arrested Mark Karpeles, head of the collapsed MtGox Bitcoin exchange, over the disappearance of about $390 (£250 million) worth of the virtual currency, local media said.
France-born Karpeles, 30, is suspected of having accessed the exchange's computer system and falsifying data on its outstanding balance, ...
Sweden invents a word for girls' genitals equivalent to 'willy' for boys 2015-08-03 23:37
Everyone in the Scandinavian country uses the term ‘snippa’ for girls’ genitals. But few know it was a feminist invention
Snoppen och Snippan, a TV cartoon of dancing children’s genitalia, was a massive hit on the internet.
I only ever speak English to our three-year-old daughter, and my wife only speaks Swedish to her. The one exception is the word snippa. It’s ...
Europe should be "preserved" for Europeans, says Hungarian PM 2015-08-03 23:07
The Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orban, says there is a link between illegal migrants heading to Europe and a rising threat of terrorism. He is seen here speaking on Saturday. Orban's conservative government has erected a four-metre-high fence along its border with Serbia. Orban, whose Fidesz party is losing ground to Hungary's far right, Eurosceptic, anti-immigration Jobbik party, adds that ...