posts about or somewhat related to ‘propaganda’
— Words on a leaflet handed out in Cairo. David Kenner, Foreign Policy. Egypt’s Media War Is Almost as Nasty as the One in the Streets.
…Most importantly, though, consider this: A country can declare that it is at war with Twitter. If that doesn’t make the internet real, I don’t know what does.
— Matt Buchanan, Buzzfeed. How to Wage War on the Internet.
The United States appears to have a new counterterrorism strategy built especially for the online age: troll extremist sites and forums.
The program, called Viral Peace, seeks to occupy the virtual space that extremists fill, one thread or Twitter exchange at a time. Shahed Amanullah, a senior technology adviser to the State Department and Viral Peace’s creator, tells Danger Room he wants to use “logic, humor, satire, [and] religious arguments, not just to confront [extremists], but to undermine and demoralize them.” Think of it as strategic trolling, in pursuit of geopolitical pwnage…
…In an interview at a Washington coffee shop near his State Department office, Amanullah explains that online extremists have “an energy, they’ve got a vitality that frankly attracts some of these at-risk people,” Amanullah says. “It appeals to macho, it appeals to people’s rebellious nature, it appeals to people who feel downtrodden.” Creating a comparable passion on the other side is difficult. But it’s easier if the average online would-be jihadi has his mystique challenged through the trial by fire that is online ridicule…
…But all that is several steps ahead of Viral Peace at the moment. Viral Peace doesn’t have a strategy yet. And to hear Amanullah and his colleagues tell it, the State Department won’t be the ones who come up with one. It’s better, they argue, to let Muslims in various foreign countries figure out which message boards to troll and how to properly troll them. Americans won’t know, say, the Tagalog-language Internet better than Filipinos; and as outsiders, they won’t have the credibility necessary to actually make an impact. The best the State Department can do is train good trolls — which Amanullah began to do this spring.
A chilling USA Today story Misinformation campaign targets USA TODAY reporter, editor is currently dominating the Muck Rack Newsroom:
“A USA TODAY reporter and editor investigating Pentagon propaganda contractors have themselves been subjected to a propaganda campaign of sorts, waged on the Internet through a series of bogus websites.”
Everyone is vulnerable to misinformation attacks on the web, but journalists who haven’t put effort into building their digital identities are particularly at risk. For example, both of the victims hadn’t spent $10 to buy their domain names:
“Internet domain registries show the website TomVandenBrook.com was created Jan. 7 — just days after Pentagon reporter Tom Vanden Brook first contacted Pentagon contractors involved in the program. Two weeks after his editor Ray Locker’s byline appeared on a story, someone created a similar site, RayLocker.com, through the same company.”
As a result, the bogus site is still the 4th non-news Google result for Tom Vanden Brook:
Had this news not broken, the fake site would have been the first non-USA Today result for Tom’s name.
Had Tom set up a site on his own domain name, a Twitter profile and a Muck Rack profile, it’s unlikely a bogus site would have so quickly made it to the first page of Google results for his name.
We’ve said before that journalists owe it to their readers not to be phished. They also need to be proactive about establishing their digital identities before someone else does.
FJP: Abide this Muck Rack pro tip.
When humanity began telling stories, it began by telling stories of war. Violent Bronze Age fiction, such as the “Iliad,” the Bible and “Gilgamesh,” cast long shadows over entire cultures, often justifying later battles and inspiring future militaries. That trend of spinning yarns of combat continues to this day. To understand the power of stories to shape modern conflicts, DARPA, the Defense Department’s research arm, has initiated a program that will investigate how storytelling and narrative shape our neurobiology.
» via Live Science
FJP: Propaganda going super tech.