U.S. develops software to manipulate social networking sites

The U.S. military are developing software to spread pro-U.S. propaganda via fake accounts on popular social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter, Guardian wrote.

U.S. Central Command (Centcom), which oversees US armed operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, awarded a contract to develop an “online persona management service,” allowing one serviceperson to control and manage up to 10 fake identities.

The fake personas, known as “sock puppets,” would have a convincing background, history and other details, and will influence online conversations “without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries.”

“The technology supports classified blogging activities on foreign-language websites to enable Centcom to counter violent extremist and enemy propaganda outside the U.S.,” Guardian quoted Centcom spokesman Commander Bill Speaks as saying.

The paper writes that the project might prompt other states, companies and non-governmental organizations to develop similar techniques.

MOSCOW, March 18 (RIA Novosti)

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