Manipulation of Social Media — under-reported

Posted: October 1, 2011 in Pols 1303
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Do you think your news program gives you a fair and unbiased account? Of course not. Or at least you shouldn’t. Everything that anyone says is biased. What I’m writing right now has bias. That’s a part of life, and all anyone can do is is be aware of it and think critically about what it is they are reading and listening to. However, people might want to start being even more aware of the news that’s being fed to them.

To fight against the online presence of Al Qaeda/other anti-American extremists, the US military is developing technology that will secretly manipulate social media. It will allow certain military members to create multiple personas to comment and influence conversations and spread pro-American propaganda. But here’s the thing. It isn’t going to be used at home (America) but in the Middle East and Central Asia; not in English but in Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and Pashto. Why the distinction? Apparently it’s unlawful to utilize this technology against Americans, but with citizens of another country it’s another thing altogether.

Um… hypocritical, anyone?

While I kind of have to applaud their tactical thinking, I’m critical of this decision. It kind of reeks of censorship, restrictions of free speech, and maybe even cyber bullying. I believe that people have the right to speak their minds, no matter where they are or their ethnicity.

If it’s unlawful to do this to Americans, why is it ok to do it to people who are not?
Sources:

http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/articles/2-us-military-manipulates-the-social-media/

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/mar/17/us-spy-operation-social-networks

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