Pentagon's unleashing social network warriors


U.S. Army photo illustration

It’s official: “Like” is a battlefield.

U.S. Central Command has software that can create an army of fake identities online, Washington Times reports, a new sign social networks are becoming militarized.

The software can cook up sophisticated profiles that would be used to”friend” al-Qaeda and the Taliban operatives on social networks, chat rooms and bulletin boards–then disrupt their operations. The location of the profile could be falsified.

Centcom bought the $2.7 million software from San Diego-based Ntrepid, the same company that markets “Anonymizer,” a popular online tool that lets users hide their identities and locations on the Web.

The Raw Story notes that a army of fake people could fake a consensus opinion in online comment threads or suppress stories.

Psy-Ops on Americans would violate the law, and fake profiles on Facebook would violate, well, Facebook’s terms of service.

Centcom says the effort will only target overseas social media sites.

Wired’s Spencer Ackerman notes, there’s no way to assure an American won’t get caught in Central Command’s net. “What are their soldiers supposed to do,” he asks, “vet their terrorist friend requests for American citizenship?”

[via Raw Story, Washington Times and Danger Room]

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