NATO has announced that “countering false Russian narratives on social media” is a major priority. Here’s why you should be concerned
|NATO wants to use "sock puppet" accounts to |
counter what RT (Russian Television) is telling
the world about the goings on inside Ukraine.
(Photo by Rachel Glaves)
On Sunday, NATO commander General Philip Breedlove said in an interview with the Associated Press that NATO must do more to “counter Russian propaganda online”:
NATO's supreme commander says the West must do more to counter Russia by employing a rapid-reaction approach to internet communications that counteracts Russia's "false narratives" spread on social media.
Gen. Philip Breedlove said Sunday that Vladimir Putin's Russia has been waging information warfare as part of its actions against Ukraine.
Breedlove said: "We need as a western group of nations or as an alliance to engage in this informational warfare. The way to attack the false narrative is to drag the false narrative into the light and expose it."
While details of such a plan remain vague, this mindset is part of a broader trend of social media psychological warfare that has been emerging largely unnoticed over the past five years. The first question that is rarely asked by our media is the most important one: what constitutes a “false narrative” and, just as importantly, who decides what constitutes one? Recent attempts by UK authorities to stifle the speech of the Russian-backed, English-language TV station RT show that false narratives are whatever Western governments determine they are.
According to The Guardian, "Russia Today is to be investigated by media regulator Ofcom over anti-western comments in a late-night discussion on Ukraine – its sixth ongoing inquiry into the Kremlin-backed news channel following complaints by viewers."That Western officials would extend this crackdown on Russian-backed narratives from traditional to social media is not surprising. What is worth noting is that the media routinely downplays or under-reports what such a plan would entail—namely, the use of sockpuppet or fake social media accounts that would be used to counter these
so-called false narratives.