Governments adopt social media as tool for surveillance and propaganda


At the Sixth Annual Conference on Social Media Within the Defence and Military Sector, held in London in 2016, senior military and intelligence officials made it clear that governments increasingly view social media as a tool for the Armed Forces and a "new front in warfare". Social media are also viewed as a source of intelligence on civilian populations and enemies and as a vector for propaganda. The conference was sponsored by Thales, which was working with the National Research Council of Canada and the Ottawa-based media monitoring company MediaMiser to develop tools to help security agencies process information in circulation. An American Civil Liberties Union report released shortly before the conference revealed the existence of the CIA-funded tool Geofeedia, which was being used by police to surveil activists and protesters on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Although Facebook and Twitter responded by revoking Geofeedia's access to their feeds, the tool's existence, taken together with the conference, indicated the rapid growth of the surveillance industry outside of regulatory oversight.

Writer: Nafeez Ahmed
Publication: Motherboard