Science & technology
US military runs studies on Twitter, Facebook and Reddit
Publish Date: Jul 09, 2014
US military runs studies on Twitter, Facebook and Reddit
  • mail
  • img
newvision

In light of Facebook’s disconcerting emotion experiment, The Guardian has published an in-depth look at the US military’s own research efforts to understand and influence social media. DARPA, the Department of Defense’s tech research arm, has sponsored numerous studies across the most popular services, including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Kickstarter and Reddit.

The studies come under the Social Media in Strategic Communication (SMISC) program, which was revealed back in 2011. Here’s the initiative’s stated mission:

The general goal of the Social Media in Strategic Communication (SMISC) program is to develop a new science of social networks built on an emerging technology base.  Through the program, DARPA seeks to develop tools to support the efforts of human operators to counter misinformation or deception campaigns with truthful information.

Unlike the the NSA’s endeavors, SMISC-funded studies aren’t meant to serve as surveillance. DARPA stipulates that researchers are not allowed to use personally identifiable information, and it sets “legal and ethical constraints” for the work. The agency provided the following statement to The Guardian:

Social media is changing the way people inform themselves, share ideas, and organize themselves into interest groups, including some that aim to harm the United States. DARPA supports academic research that seeks to understand some of these dynamics through analyses of publicly available discussions conducted on social media platforms.

According to the report, some of the studies involved messaging “unwitting participants” to see how they responded. Meanwhile, another study created a fictitious social network, hilariously named “FaceFriend,” for participants.

➤ US military studied how to influence Twitter users in Darpa-funded research [The Guardian]

Image credit: Paul J. Richards / AFP / Getty images

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
A record breaking solo flight
Swiss pilot Andre Borschberg makes aviation history with a record breaking solo flight across the Pacific....
Solar Impulse 2 pilot becomes aviation legend
Swiss Solar Impulse 2 pilot Andre Borschberg, 62, makes aviation history with a record breaking solo flight across the Pacific....
Record-breaking solar plane nears Hawaii
A solar-powered plane on the riskiest leg of a round-the-globe bid is closing in on Hawaii after a record-breaking flight....
Study on pesticides in lab rat feed causes a stir
French scientists published evidence of pesticide contamination of lab rat feed which they said discredited historic toxicity studies....
US fund Elliott files appeal against Samsung merger ruling
Hydroelectric dams may cause 70 percent of wildlife in the nearby area to go extinct, according to a study Wednesday that raises new concern about what is often touted as a green energy source....
Yahoo tests using Google search skills
YAHOO has revealed that it is testing letting Google put its online search skills to work at some of its online properties...
Do you think Ugandan graduates are the worst in the region?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter