Online activism is useless
A certain government uses online platforms to subvert nations.
The US military is developing software that will let it secretly manipulate social media sites by using fake online personas to influence internet conversations and spread pro American propaganda.
A Californian corporation has been awarded a contract with United States Central Command (Centcom), which oversees US armed operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, to develop what is described as an “online persona management service” that will allow one US serviceman or woman to control up to 10 separate identities based all over the world.
Critics are likely to complain that it will allow the US military to create a false consensus in online conversations, crowd out unwelcome opinions and smother commentaries or reports that do not correspond with its own objectives. The discovery that the US military is developing false online personalities – known to users of social media as “sock puppets” – could also encourage other governments, private companies and non government organisations to do the same.
Revealed: US spy operation that manipulates social media | Technology | The Guardian:
the modern American surveillance state is not really the stuff of paranoid fantasies; it has arrived.
The revelations about the National Security Agency’s PRISM data collection program have raised awareness — and understandably, concern and fears — among American and those abroad, about the reach and power of secret intelligence gatherers operating behind the facades of government and business.
What has received less attention is the fact that most intelligence work today is not carried out by government agencies but by private intelligence firms and that much of that work involves another common aspect of intelligence work - deception. That is, it is involved not just with the concealment of reality, but with the manufacture of it.
In addition, the group proposed creating a “fake insider persona” to infiltrate Chamber Watch. They would “create two fake insider personas, using one as leverage to discredit the other while confirming the legitimacy of the second.”
Team Themis was developing a “persona management” system — a program, developed at the specific request of the United States Air Force, that allowed one user to control multiple online identities (“sock puppets”) for commenting in social media spaces, thus giving the appearance of grass roots support.
This may sound like nothing so much as a “Matrix” like fantasy, but it is distinctly real, and resembles in some ways the employment of “Psyops” (psychological operations), which as most students of recent American history know, have been part of the nation’s military strategy for decades. The military’s “Unconventional Warfare Training Manual” defines Psyops as “planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.” In other words, it is sometimes more effective to deceive a population into a false reality than it is to impose its will with force or conventional weapons.
The Real War on Reality - The New York Times:
Other successes include the rise of the Alt-Right [“respectable” white supremacy], SJW [Social Justice Warriors], and even ISIS. Forget how you feel about them. Acknowledge that their voice is heard. They have a big impact.
The seeds of activism used to spread through newspapers and books. Now, they spread on computers and smart phones.
By all means, build real life connections, but don’t simply dismiss online activism.
In the end, activism is about changing minds.