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-   -   The Role of Social Media in Mobilizing Political Protest, Movement, and Revolution. (http://www.professionalsoldiers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=44131)

MtnGoat 11-25-2013 22:01

The Role of Social Media in Mobilizing Political Protest, Movement, and Revolution.
 
I had someone tell me once, about three or four years ago that we, military to SOF, don't need to look at anything cyber because that is CYBERCOM's job. Something that is becoming more and more clear is that "people" are using social media as a catalyst for many of the movements in different countries. Over the past two decades, the political role of the Internet and social media have played into different movements tied to revolutions. Different examples are from the Kosovo Conflict 1999-2000, the Saffron Revolution in Myanmar in 2007, and the Green Movement in 2009, the Jasmine Revolution in 2010, Arab Spring 2011, etc.

Most people, think of social media as the catalyst for anything cyber. I was on of them, but when your looking at foreign third world countries with a population that typically has least than 30% with a laptop with internet connection. Then with such low numbers of internet users, then how are all these mobilizing in political protest, movement, and revolution in all these countries? When know how, the mobile link. These mobile users fall into a class of "Information and Communication Technologies" users. Information and Communication Technologies refers to technologies that provide access to information through telecommunications. This includes the Internet, wireless networks, cell phones, and other telecommunications mediums. Through these different ICT individuals are linked and creat a "global village," in which people now can communicate with others via their mobile devices just like they would have from the village message broad. With actual social media sites and services, they can communicate with others across the world as if they were living in the same village. Just like most Americans do daily via their Facebook, Twitter and message broads like PS.com. For this reason, ICT should be studied in the context of how modern communication technologies affect society mobilizing in political protest, movement, and revolution in different countries apart of someone studying the battlefield environment.


What are Information and Communication Technologies

Flagg 11-26-2013 00:17

Quote:

Originally Posted by MtnGoat (Post 531356)
I had someone tell me once, about three or four years ago that we, military to SOF, don't need to look at anything cyber because that is CYBERCOM's job. Something that is becoming more and more clear is that "people" are using social media as a catalyst for many of the movements in different countries. Over the past two decades, the political role of the Internet and social media have played into different movements tied to revolutions. Different examples are from the Kosovo Conflict 1999-2000, the Saffron Revolution in Myanmar in 2007, and the Green Movement in 2009, the Jasmine Revolution in 2010, Arab Spring 2011, etc.

Most people, think of social media as the catalyst for anything cyber. I was on of them, but when your looking at foreign third world countries with a population that typically has least than 30% with a laptop with internet connection. Then with such low numbers of internet users, then how are all these mobilizing in political protest, movement, and revolution in all these countries? When know how, the mobile link. These mobile users fall into a class of "Information and Communication Technologies" users. Information and Communication Technologies refers to technologies that provide access to information through telecommunications. This includes the Internet, wireless networks, cell phones, and other telecommunications mediums. Through these different ICT individuals are linked and creat a "global village," in which people now can communicate with others via their mobile devices just like they would have from the village message broad. With actual social media sites and services, they can communicate with others across the world as if they were living in the same village. Just like most Americans do daily via their Facebook, Twitter and message broads like PS.com. For this reason, ICT should be studied in the context of how modern communication technologies affect society mobilizing in political protest, movement, and revolution in different countries apart of someone studying the battlefield environment.


What are Information and Communication Technologies

I recall reading this article before, but not sure if it's been posted on this forum, my apologies if I'm recycling it:

Social Media and UW
By Lieutenant Colonel Brian Petit
Originally published in the April-June 2012 edition of Special Warfare

http://www.soc.mil/swcs/swmag/archiv...ediaAndUW.html

MtnGoat 11-26-2013 04:43

Quote:

Originally Posted by Flagg (Post 531374)
I recall reading this article before, but not sure if it's been posted on this forum, my apologies if I'm recycling it:

Social Media and UW
By Lieutenant Colonel Brian Petit
Originally published in the April-June 2012 edition of Special Warfare

http://www.soc.mil/swcs/swmag/archiv...ediaAndUW.html

I remember this Special Warfare, they have put two different magazines on this topic. Both have been good.

Peregrino 11-26-2013 21:08

Interesting concept. Shortly after the Muslim Brotherhood Spring (OK, if you insist - the "Arab Spring") my then boss recommended I read Revolution 2.0. Thank god I bought it on Kindle for $2. I'm still plowing through it months later. Personally, I think our policy wonks are overstating the utility of social media WRT igniting political movements. Everything I've read addresses it in a vacuum without taking into account the duration and depth of the respective population's underlying grievances. Generations of oppression and repressed potential stacks enough kindling for an impressive conflagration. I think social media is more the spark, and just like starting any fire with a match, insufficient tinder and preparation results in burnt fingers and no bonfire. It takes time and lots of repressed discontent to create the conditions for revolution. To illustrate my point - does anyone believe social media could effect a revolution in any western democracy in the near future? How about in 25 years (probably less considering how quickly they're progressing) in one of the current socialist inspired economic disaster zones (Greece, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain, etc.)?

As for the US using it as an offensive tool - I'm not holding my breath. And that's all I consider social media to be - a tool, another component of a shaping campaign. I've yet to see a modern psyop campaign (outside of commercial marketing or democrat politics) that I considered effective. Not timely, not targeted, and certainly not exploitable for strategic or operational gain.

Flagg 11-27-2013 00:30

Quote:

Originally Posted by Peregrino (Post 531472)
Interesting concept. Shortly after the Muslim Brotherhood Spring (OK, if you insist - the "Arab Spring") my then boss recommended I read Revolution 2.0. Thank god I bought it on Kindle for $2. I'm still plowing through it months later. Personally, I think our policy wonks are overstating the utility of social media WRT igniting political movements. Everything I've read addresses it in a vacuum without taking into account the duration and depth of the respective population's underlying grievances. Generations of oppression and repressed potential stacks enough kindling for an impressive conflagration. I think social media is more the spark, and just like starting any fire with a match, insufficient tinder and preparation results in burnt fingers and no bonfire. It takes time and lots of repressed discontent to create the conditions for revolution. To illustrate my point - does anyone believe social media could effect a revolution in any western democracy in the near future? How about in 25 years (probably less considering how quickly they're progressing) in one of the current socialist inspired economic disaster zones (Greece, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain, etc.)?

As for the US using it as an offensive tool - I'm not holding my breath. And that's all I consider social media to be - a tool, another component of a shaping campaign. I've yet to see a modern psyop campaign (outside of commercial marketing or democrat politics) that I considered effective. Not timely, not targeted, and certainly not exploitable for strategic or operational gain.

Great post.....

Besides Revolution 2.0 I've also read Egypt unsh@ckled.

I would agree that social media isn't so much a new universe that some claim, but more like an increasingly important facet for shaping.

Not trying to be pedantic, but I kinda think of social media as not so much the spark as an accelerant like digital petrol.

Wouldn't the spark be real world/offline events like Mohamed Bouazizi literally sparking himself up via self immolation?

On that note, I wonder if a rigorous comparison between events such as the self immolation of Thich Quang Duc in Vietnam and Mohamed Bouazizi in Tunisia would be worthwhile?

Fortunately or unfortunately, a Pulitzer Prize winning photo(as well as film) was taken of Thich Quang Duc which immortalized him globally. Had he not been photographed and filmed would his action have achieved much reach beyond the ultra-local other than a single AP column inch and forgotten?

Because I would posit that ubiquitous photo/video combined with instantaneous global distribution of it is the only thing that has changed.

30 years ago, Assad Sr could level Hama like something out of the Dark Ages, today Assad Jr is finding his actions under scrutiny from the general public across the planet, rather than from national intelligence services and their masters.

IF my line of thinking is accurate and the main differences between Thich Quang Duc and Mohamed Bouazizi are:

Low probability of Thich Quang Duc reaching "criticality" in the media relatively slowly.

High probability of Mohamed Bouazizi reaching "criticality" in the media instantaneously.

Would that not mean that social media as an accelerant to an offline/real world event is to the benefit of those playing offense due to the exceptionally fast 0 to 100 speed and momentum like a digital MISO blitzkrieg while those playing defense will see their OODA loop rebooting at a cyclic rate due to official response decision making cycle time?

MtnGoat 11-27-2013 21:21

I feel social media (SM) is not anything close to being the catalyst or spark for any movements. But ICT, which social media networks use as one of there platforms, contributes to these mobilizing of people (or masses) that are apart of these political protest, movement, and revolution in all these countries. Militant/terrorist groups have moved from message/discussion board, websites and thread sites to Social Media (SM) platforms on the internet.They are using these social media networks to hiring new recruits, to spreading “their message," and trying to connect with like-minded individuals through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube apart of their "movement." Just as American youth use FB, Vine, Twitter, SnapTalk and other social media platforms to talk instead of traditional face to face conversations. For me this is a role that social media plays into as a support mechanism. Not the root catalyst behind any political protest, movement, and revolution.

I feel that as a military person you are always looking at “Stuff” as how they affect the Battlefield and how it impacts unit(s). Most will say that anything that is "talked" on the lines of social media is cyber and has nothing to do with the Battlefield. You be the one to answer on that question. But what about the need to study its effects of the different types of social media on your operations/plan within a country. Looking at how a population are using different ICTs and which social networks contribute to become influencer. Yes, looking at what role social media plays (influence) in affecting your “battlefield,” but what effects your Environment can have on your Battlefield. Which could have been apart of political protest, movement, and revolution.

For me, If your country has some kind of movement, or better, in its past had some political protest, movement, and revolution. What different types of social media and internet platforms were used, then study (analysis) them as OSINT. OSINT is a viable information/intelligence and pulls from so many different open sources and then is balanced with other disciplines. As with all disciplines, analyzing social media role within the protects, movement or whatever works off other disciplines to support what the analysis is looking for or obtaining to analyze it to become intelligence for that country.

History shows that the use of the internet through new and different types of social media employed by militant/terrorist group, activism, hacktivism, and cyberterrorist play into how they relate to "movements." Take the Iranian enrichment program example, I would say it was a good recent example of how through OSINT/ open source research on the social media sites (posts) from Iranian dissident groups pointing or discussing the evidence of enrichment sites and other activities. Along with what effects these have on the Environment on your future Battlefield within the country. Using Iran as the example again, most of what was found on Iran, from the nuclear proliferation to the Green Revolution was through internet searches of Iranian government websites, social networks, blog and forums. Was it 100%, no! it never is. It's a balancing act for FUSION cells or analyst. The same goes with terrorist groups use the Internet through social media for radicalization, recruiting, messaging, command and control, and fund rising. So how well do social websites, social networks, blog and forums influence protest, movement, and revolution within a country? History, just like combat and intelligence indicators provide the answer IMO.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Peregrino (Post 531472)
As for the US using it as an offensive tool - I'm not holding my breath. And that's all I consider social media to be - a tool, another component of a shaping campaign. I've yet to see a modern psyop campaign (outside of commercial marketing or democrat politics) that I considered effective. Not timely, not targeted, and certainly not exploitable for strategic or operational gain.

As a offensive tool, I don't know right now, but in some cases maybe. Now with it providing information that can be turned into Intelligence comes from Indicators. Which are observable or discernible actions that confirm or deny enemy capabilities and intentions. Ones ability to find and interpret these indicators is OSINT from social media. IMO is no more difficult than any other Intelligence discipline. The ability to find and interpret these SM indicators will directly affect the analysts' predictions of threat intent or there role in a protest, movement, and revolution in a country. It is this key, prediction, which distinguishes from just reporting the facts to assisting the commander in the decision making process. As with Intelligence, it almost always is not timely. But looking at SM and ICT platforms though different Intelligence disciplines can add to your influencing (Kinetic and Non-Kinetic) and it has be proven many times over that it is very exploitable for strategic or operational gain and plans. The hardship part is "assisting the commander in the decision making process," especially when leaders don't know anything about social media.

The whole MISO and CYBERCOM and even band 5 to 7 growth, should consider social media to be a tool, like you said, as a component of a IO shaping campaign for the overall plan. Peregrino you hit it with DoD and the strategic modern campaign by a PHYOPS/MISO Unit that can match any of the commercial marketing. We suck at anything IO by a PHYOPS/MISO. For me, we are missing it badly with new positions we are adding to Group and the revamping for the band 5-7. DoD and SOF need to analyze how the gaming Industry use of social media and how we can use it in exploiting militant/terrorist groups and influencing within a country.

MtnGoat 11-27-2013 22:28

Quote:

Originally Posted by Flagg (Post 531495)
Assad Sr could level Hama like something out of the Dark Ages, today Assad Jr is finding his actions under scrutiny from the general public across the planet, rather than from national intelligence services and their masters.

IF my line of thinking is accurate and the main differences between Thich Quang Duc and Mohamed Bouazizi are:

Low probability of Thich Quang Duc reaching "criticality" in the media relatively slowly.

High probability of Mohamed Bouazizi reaching "criticality" in the media instantaneously.

You are right with all of them, especially Assad Sr and Assad Jr differences. But as with each of them, it was all about their timing and era. Social media has increased in its popularity and influence in many ways.

With Thich Quang Duc's photo and it happening that had some pretty serious political consequences was back in 1963 and the fact that the only means to really get information was through printed media. I don't know if you could really have changed anything. But look at how it has stayed around.

Mohamed Bouaziz act was labeled as the catalyst for the Tunisian Revolution, and inciting demonstrations and riots throughout Tunisia in protest of social and political issues in the country. Now this spread instantaneously mainly because of the era when it happened. Now there were many other factors behind what was the root cause for the Tunisian Revolution, which is the Tunisian protests inspired protests in several other Arab countries. Which is now labeled as the Arab Spring.


Was there such a difference between Mohamed Bouaziz and Thich Quang Duc turn outs based off them both self-immolation?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Flagg (Post 531495)
Would that not mean that social media as an accelerant to an offline/real world event is to the benefit of those playing offense due to the exceptionally fast 0 to 100 speed and momentum like a digital MISO blitzkrieg while those playing defense will see their OODA loop rebooting at a cyclic rate due to official response decision making cycle time?

There has been a lot of talk over how social media played in the movement or revolutions starting in many different countries. There are many different ones we can go back and look at. From Kosovo conflict (1999-2001), to the Iranian “Green Revolution” (2009), the Tunisian Revolution (2010) to a different SM employment during the Haitian Earthquake Relief (2010), and Syria. But as with most social media campaigns they are to spread a psycho-social information campaign or gain additional support for their movement. This plays into social media sites being used by that organization, individuals or militant/terrorist groups to engage the country masses or ideals. These ideals add to them (or us) obtaining data for radicalization, recruiting, messaging, command and control, and fund rising that can easily be targets for social engineering.

OODA Loop is so true with social media analysis and exploration. Like a wrote in the Chinese thread, they have master this concept cycle. Looking at observe and pulling your OSINT web analytics and other COTS systems come in to analytical studies of social media. It is said that the Chinese have mastered the Orient phase, which is where you start putting that data that was pulled and breaking it down. If you looking at how social media influences their movement. How does the data pulled today compare with the data you measured last month. Even looking at how does it compare with a larger set of data. OODA is just like F3EAD, you regenerate the cycle once the mission is over based off what information was found. Even reenergize the cycle based of what you found within a social media or ICT Platform or indicators.


BTW I hated Revolution 2.0 and War 2.0, both very dry reads and not intriguing at any level.

The Reaper 11-27-2013 22:38

Just a reminder, this is an open, unclassified media source.

Please be careful in posting if you have access to classified material.

Thanks.

TR

MtnGoat 11-28-2013 07:32

Nothing discussed and writing here isn't published in some form already. This list below is where some of my ideas are pulled from. Most are dated, but whether the article, forum, PDF or white paper discusses the success, failures or political roll out and/or fall out for each of them. It provides me with ideas of how to use online sites, analyze social media, and what could be added to my tool bag. Most analyst don't look at OSINT, like any intelligence or information gathering platform, but really needs to be viewed as a tool in your toolbag. Here is a general break down of my information, good or bad links, that is for the eye of the beholder. This shows you on the social media side of the house, when to paint that picture it becomes valuable. I see social media as a great tool for us to be using, exploitating, analyzing and collecting from.

Iranian dissident groups exposed Iranian enrichment program evidence of an enrichment site.

http://p.washingtontimes.com/news/20...secret-nuke-s/

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/w...orted/3625929/

Social media opportunities and challenges for open source information.

http://www.trajectorymagazine.com/de...307-OSINT.html

http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-...-u-s-military/

http://resources.infosecinstitute.co...litary-sector/

http://www.csoonline.com/article/734...other-channels

http://academics.utep.edu/Portals/18...%20(Lyons).pdf

Examples of pulling data and using it.

http://analysisintelligence.com/tag/osint-2/

Militant/terrorist group Increasingly Using Social Media to Communicate

http://freebeacon.com/twitter-used-t...rist-messages/

http://www.securityaffairs.org/issue...08/weimann.php

http://www.pixelsandpolicy.com/pixel...terrorism.html

And the least favorite but very resourceful: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism_and_social_media

How activism, hacktivism, and cyberterrorist use SM
http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand...MR1382.ch8.pdf

http://arxiv.org/pdf/1208.4568.pdf

Tanzania Green Revolution:
http://content.time.com/time/world/a...905125,00.html

Iranian Green Movement
http://www.theatlantic.com/technolog...olution/58337/

http://www.scmagazine.com/iran-elect...rticle/138545/

Haitian Earthquake Relief:
http://mashable.com/2010/01/20/socia...lessons-haiti/

http://www2012.wwwconference.org/pro...anion/p713.pdf

Kosovo Conflict
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...BS1COhNYszLKrA

OODA Loop used to analyze Social Media
http://fabiusmaximus.com/2012/10/26/ooda-loops-44522/

http://www.researchgate.net/publicat...c2965a1d73.pdf

We don't teach this way of thinking, it is a small few that can think of how cyber, social media, internet all play into OSINT for operations. Which becomes a tool in the toolbag for intelligence or information gathering platform as with any one of the disciplines. Aa a analysts we must look or find non-traditional information tools like OSINT and social media in making causative linkages on the battlefield of your hypothesis. However, when OSINT or specificity social media used as intended, as part of a holistic picture, and within the purpose for which they were developed as a communication platform. Looking at social media as a non-traditional intelligence disciplines, such as OSINT, it is just as valuable as SIGINT, HUMINT, MASINT, ELINT, etc. We need a discussion on this topic to devolve dialog, simulate thought on how to use it and it's employment in painting the picture and providing assessments to Commanders. Otherwise, keep kicking doors and thinking you will be shooting someone in the face. That mindset is being forced to go away, so as we use to say, "Start thinking outside of the box" or really your sights.

Peregrino 11-28-2013 12:35

Quote:

Originally Posted by MtnGoat (Post 531611)
--- I see social media as a great tool for us to be using, exploiting, analyzing and collecting from. ---

I absolutely concur with everything you've written - as far as you go. There are two sides of this problem and (as I see it) our approach is lopsided.

SM (or anything else susceptible to ELINT collection) is absolutely the best (risk vs. ROI analysis) TARGETING tool we have, especially today when it has become so ubiquitous that people take it for granted without adequate consideration for OPSEC. After all how many people using cell phones actually think of them as radios - and all that implies WRT interception, analysis, and exploitation? We have achieved phenomenal successes because of our ability to capitalize on the adversaries' myopia (and in fairness to the more sophisticated - their technical limitations) WRT exploitable communications vulnerabilities.

My concern with our current approach to SM is not the exploitation part, it's the "shaping" part. Personally I would much rather influence millions with an IO campaign vice 100's with bombs & bullets (actions the adversary can then use as part of their IO counter-campaign - to influence the millions we missed with the DA message). That's where I see our weakness WRT ICT. You'd think a country that does so well selling consumerism would be at least as competitive in the "marketplace of ideas". (To illustrate my point - check out the GAO [or] DOD IG report about the contractor provided "propaganda campaign" in Afghanistan.)

Course that's MOO, YMMV. :p Quality discussion with a lot of food for thought in any event.

Flagg 11-28-2013 14:43

Hmmmmm.....so maybe more Saachi & Saachi Lovemarks and less Booz Allen Hamilton datamining?

Not that it's a choice, but massive emphasis on the latter without much emphasis on the former seems a bit lopsided.

Is calling MISO geopolitical marketing and advertising a bit oversimplistic?

I'm surprised there aren't more open source indications of major marketing and advertising firms trying to get a slice of the defense pie over the last 10+ years.

Peregrino 11-28-2013 22:40

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brush Okie (Post 531671)
Do you have a link to the DOD report you mention?


The first one that caught my eye was: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/n...ctive/2354235/. IIRC we discussed it in here when it was first published. A little additional research (all oriented towards Afghanistan) gives this: http://www.afghanwarnews.info/IO/IOnews.htm. Very little of it paints a flattering picture of our IO efforts.


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