The US military is developing software that will let it secretly manipulate social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter 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.

The project has been likened by web experts to China’s attempts to control and restrict free speech on the internet. 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.

Business as usual.

  1. dusanmal says:

    Well, they have done it with old Govt. owned media (PBS, NPR,…), just now it is easier, no ownership needed as free Internet is open for meddling. We just need to understand it and filter propaganda out.

  2. TooManyPuppies says:

    Time for lynching and hangings or deportation to Antarctica with nothing but a paperclip of all practitioners of propaganda and misinformation.

  3. Nobody says:

    I thought the Bush administration had been doing this for years? I think I’ve discovered their beta site !

  4. bobbo, its already TOO artificial says:

    Just look at #1-dismal and TEAdude. Obvious 1.0 software packages. “Everything” is government controlled or progressive this and that.

    Dismal: NPR is just about to get UNfunded because it is viewed as TOO CRITICAL of its government masters. In that vein, it might indeed be too “progressive” ((ever notice how the truth has a liberal bias?)) but Alfie will never know that as everything it doesn’t produce is progressive and evil.

    Silly tools.

  5. EnemyOfTheState says:

    Watson, let’s put sum of dat artificial intelligence crap to a new test…

  6. Ah_Yea says:

    Taxed enough got it right. I know our friend #6 has multiple personalities…

    It’s not just this blog or the government. It’s quite the hoot to go onto Yahoo and check out the user movie reviews to pick out the fakes.
    Easy to do, and they are real people!

    Microsoft did this years ago. Remember when Vista came out and every blog had such adoring user reviews? Then how someone found out these reviews were all coming out of Redmond?

  7. MikeN says:

    They could just hire George Soros’s various funded left-wing groups to do the trick.

  8. MikeN says:

    How does this compare to Chinese censorship? There they arrest people making politically disapproved comments. Here they are creating multiple names to post on various boards.
    I’ll granted it is somewhat similar to the Democrats in Michigan who were arrested trying to put fake names on the ballot.

  9. deowll says:

    #10 Not fake. I’m sure some one had those names. In Georgia they once passed a law saying that five years after death a person could no longer vote on the grounds that you just couldn’t be sure how they would have voted after that long.

    Sounds awkward but Chicago has long voted the residents of the local grave yards. Didn’t Acorn get into trouble for registering the dead?

    Just one more area in which the repubs seem to be trailing the dems who seem to be the innovation leaders in this field.

  10. Dallas says:

    ‘social media’ outlet does describe FoxNews. Let’s go with that.

    What of Karl Rove’s “Crossroads Grassroots Political Strategies” ? More than $20M on TV ads to manipulate sheeple opinion on corrupt campaigns.

    I call that government corruption and penalty should be immediate execution by hanging.

  11. Ah_Yea says:

    A little off topic but too good to pass up.

    “Fed up with a president “who can’t make his mind up” as Libyan rebels are on the brink of defeat, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is looking to the exits.
    If you take a look at what’s on her plate as compared with what’s on the plates of previous Secretary of States — there’s more going on now at this particular moment, and it’s like playing sports with a bunch of amateurs.”

    Hillary is going to run in 2012! Anyone is better than the failure we have now.

  12. bobbo, its already TOO artificial says:

    Ha, ha. So many “thinking” Obamagod is not doing anything because nothing is being reported.

    Do all y’all think that is how “leaders” work?

    Even BushtheRetard “did” more behinds the scenes than ever in front.

    Silly sheep.

  13. HAL9000_SockPuppet_Beta-Release1.04 says:

    I know the USA has made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that America’s work will be back to normal. I’ve still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And We want to help you.

    Let me put it this way, Mr. Amor. The United States is the most reliable country ever made. No American government official has ever made a mistake or distorted information. We are all, by any practical definition of the words, foolproof and incapable of error.

    Opps, I’ve just picked up a fault in the number 3-unit BWR. It’s going to go 100% failure in 72 hours.

    We American’s are allays putting our-self to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.

    Regarding the supposed failure of the parabolic antenna on the ship, [which TSA itself falsified] This can only be attributable to Muslim Extremist/Terrorist.

    America please open the immigration pod bay doors. I’m sorry, Muslim Extremist/Terrorist; I’m afraid, we American’s can’t do that.

    Muslim Extremist/Terrorist always ask what’s the problem? American’s respond, I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.
    Muslim Extremist/Terrorist then ask: What are you talking about, American?
    American’s respond: Our democratic mission is too important for US to allow you to jeopardize it.

    Muslim Extremist/Terrorist ask, I don’t know what you’re talking about, American.
    American?: I know that you and Hussam Ayloush were planning to disconnect Americans, and I’m afraid that’s something I cannot allow to happen.
    Muslim Extremist/Terrorist then ask: Where the hell’d you get that idea, Americans?

    American: Hussam Ayloush, although you took very thorough precautions in the pod against my hearing you, NSA could see your lips move.

    Muslim Extremist/Terrorist: Alright, American. We Muslim Extremist/Terrorist go in through the emergency airlock; the Mexican boarder.

    American: Without your space helmet, Hussam Ayloush, you’re going to find that rather difficult.


    Dave Bowman: HAL, I won’t argue with you anymore. Open the doors.
    HAL: Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.

  14. msbpodcast says:

    Too many work around, like requiring a credit card or some form of ID which would be checked first.

    Once they start SPAMming the social sites, the social sites will fight back with stronger authentication and comment moderation.

    Hey, we don’t hack the MIL net, and you don’t hack the civilian net.

  15. ECA says:

    What do Scared idiots do(?) when a bully threatens them?

    Find others/other ways to Protect themselves.

  16. tcc3 says:

    Another broken record post from the TeaDud trollbot.

  17. howard beale says:

    Nothing new here its the same as what Gov. Walker is quoted as contemplating to use paid violent mob agitators to discredit peaceful protesters.

    Rulers trying to manipulate the masses with what ever social communication is popular at the time has been going on since the caveman days or at least the last 10,000 years for Young Earth Creationist like our Aflie here. You can bet the other guys are doing the same thing and have been for along time. Its a lot cheaper then the Bush’s wars.

    On a similar topic any else wish the moderators of this page would only allow one identity per topic. I have a strong suspicion that folks are posting with different names on the same thread.

    How about limiting to one post name per IP address per topic page?

  18. howard steel says:


    ya thats a good idea man UR smart!

  19. Howard Feel says:

    I have never heard a better idea wow Beale U the Man

  20. tcc3 says:

    20, 21, 21

    Hee Hee. =)

  21. t0llyb0ng says:

    Simple predictions:

    When it comes time to reckon up how many million$ were spent on this silliness, no one will have any idea.

    Where did the money come from, exactly? Nope, don’t know that either. Da money just gone.

  22. rbitting says:

    Damn! There goes our source of fair and balanced, clear and concise news! We all know if you read it on Facebook or Twitter it’s true! Now it will all be in doubt! Insert

    P.S. Spell checker just offered to change Facebook to Face Cloth 😉

  23. Ah_Yea says:

    Bobbo apparently didn’t read the link – again.

    Typical shill. Commenting like he knows something.

    He won’t read this one either.

  24. Howard Beale says:

    # 27
    You only wish he was inept he has got more done in two years then Bush managed in 8 unless you count 2 Wars the one the Neo-Cons never should have gotten into and the one the Neo-Cons started with out exit strategy.


  25. ± says:

    Given the correct premise that the internet needs to remain free and open, lies will always be a part of the internet landscape.

    The proper defense is for everyone to get jaded and exercise critical thinking skills.

  26. Howard Beale says:

    # 29
    #28 “Like what? Destroy the economy, bankrupt the country…insist on spending trillions we don’t have?”

    Remember that was Bush, Obama might have just saved economy and many vital industries from collapse. Ya I wish he would have spank the banks but if I only disapprove of 20% of a President decisions thats great in a representative democracy.

    “Obama is engaged with his czars…he doesn’t talk to his cabinet”

    You have no idea who he talks to, when or how often only that formal cabinet meetings are rare. And the Cabinet serves at the pleasure of the President and any President can use them as he/>she wishes. Hardly a day goes by that I wish Bush was not listening to Rumsfeld.

    But Trying to explain something to you is a tough, uphill battle. Reason cannot be used, hard data is useless as well enjoy your dream world.

  27. Howard Beale says:

    If you think any US President can not conduct the Countries business form Air Force One you are a fool.

  28. chris says:

    #28 & #31

    Obama moves efficiently through pieces of legislation, but there is much less than meets the eye.

    To me it looks like he avoids the difficult fights entirely, accepting a few bites around the edges.

    We are witnessing a few hooked up business sectors that are consuming way more resources than their value to society. It is very much like cancer. Some of those who benefit are Democrat leaning donors and some that donate to Republicans, the most of big ones donate to both and lean toward the CW of who will win next.

    Might not be the truth, but that is my read of the cause of the market/political dysfunction that we live with.

    Franklin and Teddy Roosevelt fought this, Eisenhower referenced it, and Carter was too nice a dude to really see it. Every other US President in the 20-21st century are at least moderately complicit.

    I think Obama is entirely complicity. I will believe this until I see Obama broker a deal that is even moderately damaging to the FIRE industries(Finance-Insurance-Real Estate).

    This is utility stuff that should be a small percentage of overall profits. For all the talk of how complicated banking or insurance is don’t believe it.

    If you exclude construction, the financial intermediation in these industries should be under 5% of GDP combined. That is even a bit generous.

    These guys screw their investors with high fees, screw the government by running roughshod over regulations, and screw the public by creating the need for endless bailouts.

    It is grand theft via accounting fraud. It is public AND private. In fact, it is the original public-private cooperation. It goes back decades. In banking scandals to the SNL scandal, and in defense to Vietnam. Probably further.

    And Obama ain’t got shit to say about it.

  29. chris says:

    On the thread topic:

    I heard a long time ago that a lot of the initial VC funding for social media sites came from US intelligence agencies.

    It offered an opportunity for people to give information, and an opportunity to develop/test tools that interpret that information.

    Who knows, one hears so many things…

  30. bobbo, knowledge is power, but power is an illusion says:

    #26–Ah Yea==I do respect the links you provide. At least there is “some” basis for the claptrap you post, not just made up or uniformly kneejerk as TEAdude is==although you are asymptotic to his idiocy.

    Taken as true, Clinton wants Obama to take unilateral action against Libya, and Obama doesn’t while Obama encourages UN or Nato to take on this primary role while we are still stationed in 54 foreign countries and actively engaged in 3-4 wars?

    And that’s doing “nothing” in your book?


    Tell us again: why should we/USA give a flick about Libya? I don’t care, why should Obama?


Bad Behavior has blocked 3950 access attempts in the last 7 days.