American and British intelligence hope to take advantage of social media platforms, like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, in an effort to spread disinformation and propaganda, as well as potentially foment public protests, recent Snowden leaks claim.
According to Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who first broke the news on the Snowden NSA leaks, an Orwellian-style dystopia is lurking on the horizon as western spy agencies see an opportunity for manipulating public opinion and disseminating state propaganda by exploiting global internet giants, such as Flickr, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
“These ideas – discussions of how to exploit the internet, specifically social media, to surreptitiously disseminate viewpoints friendly to Western interests and spread false or damaging information about targets – appear repeatedly throughout the archive of materials provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden,” Greenwald revealed in the online publication, The Intercept, where he is an editor.
While it is already known is that British analysts had instructed the NSA in 2012 how to conduct real-time surveillance on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, as well as collect the computer addresses of billions of the sites’ users, the new report shows the GCHQ has moved to actively push particular news stories into the public domain.
At the 2010 annual “SIGDEV” gathering of the “Five Eyes” surveillance alliance comprising the UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the US, discussion focused on developing methods for the purpose of “discrediting” foreign governments by secretly exploiting social media for “propaganda,” “deception,” “mass messaging,” and “pushing stories,” Greenwald reveals.
The leaked documents are from a GCHQ publication titled ‘Psychology: A New Kind of SIGDEV’ (Signals Development).