Pentagon Set To Track Social Media

The Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a part of the Pentagon, has launched a new project focussing on social media tracking. DARPA's "mission is to maintain the technological superiority of the U.S military and prevent technological surprise from harming our national security by sponsoring revolutionary, high-payoff research bridging the gap between fundamental discoveries and their military use." The new project, titled the Social Media in Strategic Communication, has a budget of $42 million. DARPA explains that "changes to the nature of conflict resulting from the use of social media are likely to be as profound as those resulting from previous communications revolutions. The effective use of social media has the potential to help the Armed Forces better understand the environment in which it operates and to allow more agile use of information in support of operations." It seems that the uprisings in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Bahrain and Tunisia have made the American government wary. Social media and Twitter in particular has been credited with playing a major role in each uprising. The project has four major goals:
  • Detect, classify, measure and track the formation, development and spread of ideas and concepts (memes) and purposeful or deceptive messaging and misinformation.
  • Recognise persuasion campaign structures and influence operations across social media sites and communities.
  • Identify participants and intent, and measure effects of persuasion campaigns.
  • Counter messaging of detected adversary influence operations.

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