The U.S. Military is about to get into the business of lurking on forums and hanging around social media sites in a big way. Central Command (Centcom) is teaming up with a company called Ntrepid on software that will allow military users to create and manage multiple fake-but-convincing social media accounts, “replete with background, history, supporting details, and cyber presences that are technically, culturally and geographically consistent.”
The military says these sockpuppet accounts will support “classified blogging activities on foreign-language websites to enable Centcom to counter violent extremist and enemy propaganda outside the US.”
These false online personas, also known as “sock puppets,” would be equipped to seem like real people while entering online discussion through blogs, message boards, chats, and more. With a false persona, a user could discredit opponents, or create the semblance of consensus.
The military claims that the software will not, however, be used on U.S.-based audiences or sites like Facebook and Twitter.