In troubled times, propaganda ends up becoming a war in itself, and if they don’t tell the Pentagonwho has ordered a Comprehensive review of information warfare-related operations conducted through social media. This information has been uncovered by The Washington Post after Meta (formerly Facebook parent company) and Twitter identified fake accounts on their platforms with connections to the United States military.
Through anonymous interviews with officials responsible for the defense of the United States, The Washington Post affirms that Colin Kahl, deputy secretary for policy of the Department of Defense, instructed all branches of the armed forces to carry out influence campaigns through social networks. In addition to online activity, they also had to submit reports the following month.
The review ordered by the Pentagon appears to be a forced move after Graphika and the Stanford Internet Observatory released a report showing a series of operations aimed at promote pro-Western narratives in countries like Russia, China, and Afghanistanall of them rivals, so to speak, of the United States.
The report is based on data provided by Twitter and Meta, which removed pro-Western influencer networks from their respective platforms in July and August. Both companies justified their moves in their own rules, which prohibit manipulation and inauthentic coordinated activities.
Because the pro-Western manipulation network acted through false accounts, the researchers have not been able to conclusively attribute its origin, but they are clear that “consistently promoted narratives in favor of the interests of the United States and its allies” while also linking to news sites backed by the US government and military.
The Washington Post reports that the White House and officials from various federal agencies are increasingly concerned about the use of clandestine operations such as those outlined in the report, so their review has been ordered.
As we have already said at the beginning, propaganda becomes a war in itself, so the involvement of the United States military in these issues is far from new, to the extent that there is the term psychological operations or psyops. However, the use of invented people and false media is something relatively new and is generating controversy. In this case, data provided by Meta and Twitter exposed accounts using AI-generated faces and, in some cases, posing as representatives of fictitious, allegedly independent media organizations.
With tactics like that, the United States military falls into a game similar to the disinformation campaigns of the GRU, the Russian Central Intelligence Department. Obviously, let no one doubt that the Pentagon will continue with its psychological operations, but seeing the concern of the White House and other agencies about formalities, it may possibly carry them out following less controversial procedures.