Just noticed this in UK MOD assisting NATO counter disinformation https://www.gov.uk/government/news/army ... nformation Curious I noticed that the government has produced a counter disinformation toolkit https://gcs.civilservice.gov.uk/publica ... nformation
All this led me to wondering how susceptible are users of online defence related forums to disinformation. Strikes me that any malign state or other organisation setting out to do this would probably create a false online persona on social media and spend some time, quite possibly years, building a reputation for fact based opinions on topics of defence interest. Once the following had increased sufficiently the online opinions would start becoming more and more controversial, little by little, while trying to reinforce the worldview of its targeted audience. The more and more strident the language used in the posts, the more and more people are likey to read and react to it. The aim might be not so much to be to make an individual overreact but by manipulating facts and mixing them with believable falsehoods, very occasional praise, and opinions that the target audience is believed to be susceptible to, to rather weaken trust in a nation's institutions (parliament, public service etc) and allies, to polarised opinion, to create a sense of the nation having been betrayed etc. etc. This would clearly not just be achieved by just a lone blogger in his bedroom, but by the manipulation of many dozens, hundreds or even thousands of social media opportunities over a prolonged period. Clearly all this comes at a cost and even disinformation on an industrial scale still potentially has gaps; e.g. does a supposed tweeter, blogger etc have an online presence that really gives confidence in who they are, or have they just been around a long time while being scant on personal details?
This might all seem alarmist but it is nevertheless, in my view, an interesting question for us to all ponder when we're next outraged reading a defence related tweet, comment or blog. Who knows who is truly behind it?
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