Tech UPTechnologyIs the Pentagon using fake accounts to spread misinformation?

Is the Pentagon using fake accounts to spread misinformation?

The Pentagon has launched an internal investigation into psychological warfare operations after uncovering fake social media accounts spreading pro-Western disinformation, its spokesman, Gen. Pat Ryder, said Tuesday.

“The department has requested an investigation into our military information support activities,” admitted the spokesman, confirming information released by The Washington Post during a press conference.

The American newspaper cited a study carried out by Stanford University and the social network analysis company Graphika, which reports on a hundred accounts “of unknown origin” on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that have spread propaganda against Russia, China and Iran. between 2017 and 2022.

Citing an unnamed government source, the Washington Post claimed that these accounts were created by special units of the US military.

The Pentagon spokesman assured that the army’s psychological warfare activities were supervised and legal.

“We have established safeguards on how to manage our operations,” he assured during the press conference.

This research represents “just one opportunity to evaluate our work in this area.”

But when asked about the nature of the US Army’s psychological warfare operations, General Ryder acknowledged that they could include “untrue information.”

“It is possible to conduct operations against adversaries using information in a way that helps them think in a certain way,” he said.

“We are conducting these operations in support of our national security objectives.”

“It is an aspect of war as old as war itself,” he added, citing in particular the operations carried out by the Allies during World War II to mislead the German command about the landing site.

General Ryder noted that the link between these fake accounts and the Department of Defense had not been clearly established, suggesting that they could be linked to other government agencies, without mentioning any.

“As far as I know, we have not reviewed the information” in question, he said. “It should not be assumed that it is the Department of Defense.”

The activities discovered on US social networks were clandestine, but neither Facebook nor Twitter attributed the fake accounts to any government agency, according to the study published by Stanford.

Twitter simply listed the United States and Britain as its “alleged home countries,” while Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, named the United States as its “home country.”

With information from AFP.

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