Social Media News – papers, publications, commentary, and analysis on how information operations is used to influence the population in support or against governments and their security forces. Islamic State and Social Media, the Kremlin’s IO machine, ‘disinformation’ (dezinformatsiya) is now ‘fake news’, and more.
Social Media News and the Islamic State in Afghanistan. The Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) uses propaganda to advance its cause, gain popular support, gain recruits, and spread its narrative of Salafi-jihadism. Borhan Osman, writing for the Afghanistan Analysts Network, examines the influence operations of the ISKP in eastern Afghanistan. Read ISKP’s Battle for Minds: What are the main messages and who do they attract?, AAN, December 12, 2016.
Extremist Use of Media. Terrorist and insurgent groups have long used the latest in media technology to gain support in their cause, instill fear among target populations, and gather recruits. Read more in “The Age of Selfie Jihad: How Evolving Media Technology is Changing Terrorism”, CTC Sentinel, November 30, 2016.
Law to Reorganize VOA, Radio Free Europe, etc. There are a number of news outlets run by the U.S. to disseminate information. These include Radio Free Asia, Radio Free Europe, and Middle East Broadcasting Networks. Some congressional members feel that the organizations are not centralized and therefore cannot quickly adapt to the 24/7 news cycle. Read more in “New Law Would Reorganize VOA, Other US Government Broadcasters”, Voice of America, December 14, 2016.
Islamic State’s Media War. ISIS has a very competent media operation that has successfully disseminated its strategic communications throughout the world. Read more in “Lighting the Path: The Story of the Islamic State’s Media Enteprise”, War on the Rocks, December 12, 2016.
Paper on US IO Efforts. A recent paper by Christopher Paul discusses shortfalls and deficiencies in U.S. capabilities in information operations (IO). Read more in “Enhancing US Efforts to Inform, Influence, and Persuade”, Parameters, Autumn 2016, Strategic Studies Institute, pages 87-97.
‘Dezinformatsiya’ is now ‘Fake News’. The use of disinformation – through social media news – has been a tool for governments for a long time. The Soviets refined it as a component of ‘political warfare’. Recent news reports in main stream media would suggest that ‘fake news’ is a new aspect of the media. Not so much. Read “Before ‘fake news,’ there was Soviet ‘disinformation'”, The Washington Post, November 26, 2016.
ODNI Statement on Foreign Influence on U.S. Elections. The Democrats are up in arms about the possibility that the Russians influenced the U.S. presidential election in favor of President-Elect Trump. Some intelligence agencies are pointing at the Kremlin as well. The Director for National Intelligence is looking into the matter – read a press release (Dec 14, 2016) on this topic in “Intelligence Community Statement on Review of Foreign Influence on U.S. Elections”.
How to Fight ‘Fake News’. One commentator suggests that we should not “. . . try to fight the firehose of falsehood with the squirtgun of truth.” We should instead “. . . put ‘raincoats’ on those who will be hit with the firehose.” Read “Beyond the Headlines: RAND’s Christopher Paul Discusses the Russian ‘Firehose of Falsehood'”, The RAND Blog, December 13, 2016.
Kremlin and IO. The Russians have mastered the realm of information operations. Recent news reports indicate that they have a significant social media machine designed to influence audiences around the world. The Russians cyber warfare capability is also well resourced. This type of hybrid warfare is dominated by information and psychological conflict. Russians view modern warfare as not only military conflict but competition in the political, diplomatic, economic, and informational sectors. (Sort of reminds you of the Cold War – doesn’t it?). Read more in “The Kremlin’s ‘New Generation Warfare’ Is Just Getting Started”, War is Boring, December 10, 2016. For more on this topic read Alexander Velez-Green’s article “The United States and Russia Are Already at War”, Small Wars Journal, December 13, 2016.