Pentagon Orders Review Of Overseas Social Media Campaigns

Pentagon Orders Review Of Overseas Social Media Campaigns
Last updated Sep 30, 2022
Image credit: AP [ via the Washington Post]


  • The Pentagon has ordered a review of how it conducts clandestine information warfare after social media giants Twitter and Meta reportedly removed fake accounts suspected of being run by the US military.[1]
  • The call for review came last week when Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl reportedly asked the military commands participating in online psychological operations (PSYOP) to give a complete rundown of their activities by next month.[2]
  • In August, researchers from the Stanford Internet Observatory and social network analysis firm Graphika reported that more than 150 fake accounts created in the US have been removed from Twitter and Meta in recent years.[3]
  • Although the researchers didn't tie the accounts to the US military, they attributed some of them to Pentagon's Trans-Regional Web Initiative — a program that allegedly sends pro-US information in areas where US troops are operating.[4]
  • The information campaigns now under investigation are said to include activities from the US Central Command, which for years has allegedly targeted overseas audiences in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia with pro-American news and messages.[1]
  • There are no US laws barring fictitious accounts. However, specific Pentagon policy discourages the spread of false information.[1]


Pro-establishment narrative

The US government is in the tricky position of having to maintain its credibility and uphold its values without abandoning the online PSYOP battlefield. US adversaries are at the forefront of online propaganda, spreading misinformation and fomenting global unrest, and the US must take a stance. Hopefully, this review will shed some light on the military's information warfare and pave the way to a new digital-age hearts-and-minds campaign.

Establishment-critical narrative

While not illegal, using ersatz social media accounts is dangerous and hypocritical. The US has long condemned countries like China and Russia for their use of propaganda but has been quick to implement its own social media-driven PSYOP, with embarrassingly unsuccessful results. It's time to turn the page.

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