There are countless links that prove the US has been working for years to influence social media and the internet as a whole.
I hate posts or submissions that drop 20+ links because people tend to get overwhelmed by the information and not even click on them.
So here is a handful of links going all the way back to 2009. I have added a tidbit from the article after each one. It should also be interesting to see if the comment section devolves into an attack on the messenger instead of on the content. (Pay attention folks!)
Wired (2009) “Air Force Releases ‘Counter-Blog’ Marching Orders”:
the emerging technology division of the Air Force’s public affairs arm, airmen are given guidance on how to handle “trolls,” “ragers” — and even well-informed online writers, too. It’s all part of an Air Force push to “counter the people out there in the blogosphere who have negative opinions about the U.S. government and the Air Force,” Captain David Faggard says.
**The Guardian (2011): Revealed: US spy operation that manipulates social media.
Military’s ‘sock puppet’ software creates fake online identities to spread pro-American propaganda.
Who can forget that time in 2013 when a reddit blogger forgot to erase Englin Air Force from the reddit rankings and accidentally told the truth. They were #1 in the “Most Addicted Cities” category.
The Intercept (2014) “HOW COVERT AGENTS INFILTRATE THE INTERNET TO MANIPULATE, DECEIVE, AND DESTROY REPUTATIONS”
Today, we at the Intercept are publishing another new JTRIG document, in full, entitled “The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations.”
Wikipedia: Operation Earnest Voice
According to CENTCOM, the US-based Facebook and Twitter networks are not targeted by the program because US laws prohibit state agencies from spreading propaganda among US citizens as according to the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012. However, according to the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012, dissemination of foreign propaganda to domestic audiences is expressly allowed over the internet including social media networks.
Source – Under Cass’s views titled: “Conspiracy Theories” and government infiltration
Cass Sunstein’s proposal to the Obama Administration in 2008:
Sunstein co-authored a 2008 paper with Adrian Vermeule, titled “Conspiracy Theories,” dealing with the risks and possible government responses to conspiracy theories resulting from “cascades” of faulty information within groups that may ultimately lead to violence. In this article they wrote, “The existence of both domestic and foreign conspiracy theories, we suggest, is no trivial matter, posing real risks to the government’s antiterrorism policies, whatever the latter may be.” They go on to propose that, “the best response consists in cognitive infiltration of extremist groups”, where they suggest, among other tactics, “Government agents (and their allies) might enter chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine percolating conspiracy theories by raising doubts about their factual premises, causal logic or implications for political action.“ They refer, several times, to groups that promote the view that the US Government was responsible or complicit in the September 11 attacks as “extremist groups.”
The authors declare that there are five hypothetical responses a government can take toward conspiracy theories: “We can readily imagine a series of possible responses. (1) Government might ban conspiracy theorizing. (2) Government might impose some kind of tax, financial or otherwise, on those who disseminate such theories. (3) Government might itself engage in counterspeech, marshaling arguments to discredit conspiracy theories. (4) Government might formally hire credible private parties to engage in counterspeech. (5) Government might engage in informal communication with such parties, encouraging them to help.” However, the authors advocate that each “instrument has a distinctive set of potential effects, or costs and benefits, and each will have a place under imaginable conditions. However, our main policy idea is that government should engage in cognitive infiltration of the groups that produce conspiracy theories, which involves a mix of (3), (4) and (5).”