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WARNING: US military is creating FALSE Identities ONLINE to Spread Propaganda

Posted on: March 23, 2011

  • Fake profiles would NOT operate in English as this would contravene U.S. law
  • Instead operators would work in languages such as Arabic, Farsi and Urdu

Online manipulation: The U.S. military is to use software that creates fake personas so as to combat extremism and spread propaganda.

The American military has spent $2.8million on software to create fake personas on social networking websites in a bid to curb online jihadists.

The U.S. Central Command (Centcom) has awarded a $2.76million contract to California company Ntrepid in order to create false identities – known as ‘sock puppets’ – to manipulate conversations on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

The move is reportedly intended to hamper online extremism but critics will argue the scheme actually strikes a blow against free speech.

A June 2010 contract shows the software in question would allow users to control ‘10 personas… replete with background , history, supporting details, and cyber presences that are technically, culturally and geographically consistent’.

Up to 50 users of the software would be ‘able to appear to originate in nearly any part of the world’ with the intention of interacting ‘through conventional online services and social media platforms’.

Centcom’s contract also stipulates that the users of the software should be able to handle a number of false online personas from one workstation ‘without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries’.

Centcom spokesman Commander Bill Speaks told the Guardian: ‘The technology supports classified blogging activities on foreign-language websites to enable Centcom to counter violent extremist and enemy propaganda outside the U.S.’

He stressed the ‘sock puppets’ would not operate in English as to use such technology would contravene U.S. law – instead the false identities will conduct online conversations in languages such as Arabic, Farsi and Urdu.

However, the implications of the Centcom contract – which would allow U.S. forces personnel to contribute to Facebook conversation, tweets and message boards under a false name – could be of concern for free speech campaigners.

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