The Pentagon has ordered a sweeping review of how it conducts clandestine information warfare after social media sites removed fake accounts that were suspected of being linked to the US military, The Washington Post reported on Monday.
A report published last month by research groups Graphika and the Stanford Internet Observatory detailed the activity of fake accounts on Facebook and Twitter that were promoting pro-Western narratives in posts targeting audiences overseas. The social media companies removed around 150 accounts over the past few years, with some removed recently as they were promoting anti-Russia narratives about the war in Ukraine.
The report did not attribute blame for the accounts, but two unnamed military officials speaking to the Post hinted that US Central Command (CENTCOM) was involved. Separately, the Post said that Facebook removed fictitious personas created by CENTCOM to counter a Chinese claim that Covid-19 originated from the US Army bio lab in Fort Detrick, Maryland.
In response to the Graphika and Stanford Internet Observatory report, Colin Kahl, the undersecretary of defense for policy, ordered the review, which instructed US military command involved in psychological operations to fill the White House in on their activities by next month. Kahl said he wanted to know what types of operations were being carried out and if they were effective.
The US military has a long history of psychological operations, but its activities online in that area are shrouded in secrecy. While there are military units that specialize in psyops, such as the US Army’s 4th Psychological Operations Group, the Pentagon also employs more covert forces in this area.
Last year, Newsweek reported that over the past decade, the Pentagon had created the world’s largest clandestine force that consists of about 60,000 people, many of whom use fake identities and operate across the world.
A major part of the Pentagon’s undercover force are people that operate exclusively online. Newsweek described them as “cutting-edge cyber fighters and intelligence collectors who assume false personas online.” These cyber fighters work to gather data, but some also “engage in campaigns to influence and manipulate social media.”
12 thoughts on “Pentagon Opens Review Of Its Clandestine Psychological Operations”
Oh, so the Russians aren’t the only ones doing this kind of thing. Shocked, I’m shocked. Round up the usual suspects. Let’s make a show of examining the situation, then, lads (and ladies), let’s carry on.
So, apparently we have our own internet troll farm spreading propaganda. It even has a nice name – Clandestine Psychological Operations. Heaven help us all.
YES. You can sometimes tell in comment sections when someone is ridiculously resistant to reality and resorts to massive gang (people whose names you never heard before show up) ad hominem attacks on one person.
Ruling the world really is a headache. Can the USA ever consider being normal???
A population paying to be brainwashed, what a free & democratic country.
“Clandestine Psychological Operations”
what, as opposed to obvious psychological operations?
9/11 comes to mind.
Seems like there’s a couple of those paid ghosts who comment on antiwar.com
you bet there are…!
Dang, I’m still waiting for that check to show up!
A CIA within the Pentagon as they don’t trust the mother CIA…!!!
Wow, only 150?! Man, we’ve got to catch up! Twitter and Facebook removed “several hundred” accounts linked to Russia’s “Internet Research Agency.”
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