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US military tries sockpuppetry

March 17, 2011

The US military is developing software that will let it secretly manipulate social media using fake online personas designed to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda.

Critics are likely to complain that it will allow the US military to create a false consensus in online conversations, crowd out unwelcome opinions and smother commentaries or reports that do not correspond with its own objectives.

"I think this is a great idea!" "Oh I quite agree! Snarf, snarf!"

I… just don’t know where to begin with this one.

Maybe they could work on sticking to the supposedly American values that are supposedly under attack, like freedom of speech?

But it gets better:

He said none of the interventions was in English, as it would be unlawful to “address US audiences” with such technology, and any English-language use of social media by Centcom was always clearly attributed. The languages in which the interventions are conducted include Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and Pashto.

So once again, it’s one rule for us (or US) but another for them…

It is indisputable that the US needs to improve its image in the international community, especially the countries predominantly speaking the above languages. But if they think a bit of hi-tech sockpuppetry is going to undo decades of expansionist foreign policy… well, remember Tom Johnson?

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