Pentagon Wants a Social Media Propaganda Machine
You don’t need to have 5,000 friends of Facebook to know that social media can have a notorious mix of rumor, gossip and just plain disinformation. The Pentagon is looking to build a tool to sniff out social media propaganda campaigns and spit some counter-spin right back at it. On Thursday, Defense Department extreme technology arm Darpa unveiled its Social Media in Strategic Communication (SMISC) program. It’s an attempt to get better at both detecting and conducting propaganda campaigns on social media. SMISC has two goals. First, the program needs to help the military better understand what’s going on in social media in real time — particularly in areas where troops are deployed. This is more than just checking the trending topics on Twitter. Not all memes, of course. More specifically, SMISC needs to be able to seek out “persuasion campaign structures and influence operations” developing across the social sphere. What exactly SMISC will look like it its final form is hard to say.
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