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Social media is no longer just for sharing family vacation and sleeping cat photos. Social media tools and applications are available to everybody with a computer or a smartphone. They have been increasingly used as an effective weapon by many people on many sides of different conflicts. Military as well as civilian organizations of all types will need to become more effective in watching how their foes use social media, defending against ongoing social media attacks, and using social media as a weapon in pursuit of their own goals.

Learning the process of offensive social media attacks for fueling insurgency or social actions takes very little time. Being good at it, on the other hand, does take considerable effort and study, as does any warfare strategy or tactic. It takes time. It also takes planning and dedication. There is no one-stop website that provides all the education and training needed to effectively wage social media warfare or defend an organization during social media conflict. There also is not a single one- size-fits-all social media warfare program that will suddenly make a nation or an organization secure during social media conflicts.

It is necessary to understand that many conflict-oriented social media uses are legal, and governments and law enforcement agencies will and can do little to help the conflicting sides in a social media war. However, when governments are involved in a conflict that has a social media warfare component, they will do all they can to control access to social media tools. But many social media application providers are more than willing to have their tools used by any and all, regardless of which side of the conflict they support. That said, this book provides a structured approach to using social media weapons and protecting an organization from this emerging unconventional warfare strategy.

As the use of social media in conflict situations evolves, many organizations are becoming more vulnerable because they have either naively used social media applications or have no idea how to defend against social media warfare attacks. Organizations have had to address the same challenge when facing cyber threats and have put forth considerable effort to protect against a variety of cyber attack methods. The difference between cyber warfare and social media warfare is that cyber warfare requires a far higher level of technical knowledge and skill. Social media warfare is easier to learn and faster to deploy; but effective social media


warfare, like cyber warfare, requires discipline and long-term dedication for successful deployment or defense. Social media warfare tactics also have proven to be rather successful as an unconventional warfare tool.

This book is designed to save managers and social media foot soldiers time that it would otherwise take to research social media warfare approaches and mitigation methods. As a result, this book will better inform managers on setting goals and about defensible actions to take against social media warfare attacks; it also will better enable managers to deal with governments or organizations that may victimize them during social media warfare operations.

To make this book helpful for graduate- or professional-level seminar classes, Seminar Discussion Topics are provided for each chapter. Suggested as well as possible Seminar Group Projects are also provided; each is expected to take no more than thirty minutes for a group to work through and present results.

The chapters are arranged in a manner that provides for the analysis of social media warfare use by different types of organizations or special interest groups. Each group has different offensive and defensive strategies available based on their budgets and skill mix. In addition, many tactics may be applicable across industry sectors or organization type. The content of chapters is discussed below.

Chapter 1: A Framework to Analyze Emerging Social Media Warfare Strategies: Social media warfare has become a study topic in military science, and it will play a bigger role in future conflicts. This chapter introduces the basic concepts and definitions of social media warfare, including the new definition of war, social media warfare study in academic disciplines, social media warfare participants, defensive and offensive social media warfare tactics, the tools of social media warfare, knowledge and skills needed for social media warfare, and how to develop a “lessons learned” process for social media warfare.

Chapter 2: Civilian Government Use of Social Media to Attack, Defend, or Control: Governments face numerous challenges associated with social media warfare because most governments are rather defensive and highly focused on selfpreservation; therefore, they are confronted with the possibility of defending their national interest (or at least defending government officials) against social media based or inspired attacks. In many cases governments choose to limit Internet access or punish those citizens who use social media to criticize or question the national government or political leaders. This chapter examines a variety of issues that various types of governments face, and that citizens living under different types of government must deal with as they strive to live free lives. These issues include the growth in Internet use and access to social media, individual freedom and social media warfare, agents of national governments in international relations and internal affairs, cooperation with international agencies, provincial/state and local governments and social media warfare, and citizens speaking out on social media about government.

Chapter 3: Military Applications of Social Media Warfare: Military organizations face great challenges in social media warfare. As with past new threats, there is a learning curve and a training curve. Militaries learn to deal with new threats, and they train current and future troops in how to defend against a technology and how to use the technology as a weapon for their advantage. This chapter covers the challenges that militaries face in dealing with social media warfare, including social media warfare in conflict environments, defending a military force from social media warfare tactics, using social media warfare tactics as offensive weapons, using social media warfare tactics to undermine opposing forces, preventing personnel from undermining force stability when using social media, managing social media warfare operations, training military personnel in social media warfare tactics, and using social media warfare tactics to gain support in non-conflict environments.

Chapter 4: Corporate Efforts to Deploy or Respond to Social Media Warfare Strategies: Corporations, especially large ones, are in a constant state of conflict. Social media warfare is intensifying that conflict. Competition is stiff between corporations, and globalization has opened more avenues for competition and conflict. Corporations have polluted the environment, exploited workers, sold faulty and dangerous products, and alienated social cause groups that feel corporations should be held responsible for the damage they have done. The larger the corporation, the more lawsuits they face every year. This chapter examines how corporations use social media warfare tactics and, in turn, have those tactics used against them. Topics include, the corporate environment and mentality, corporations and defensive/offensive social media warfare tactics, corporate profit building through blended social media warfare tactics, nullifying corporate opponents and critics through blended social media warfare tactics, and how citizens speak out on social media about corporations.

Chapter 5: Special Interest Groups’ Use of Social Media as a Weapon: There are hundreds of special interest groups involved in a wide variety of interests ranging from commerce, health, or art, to community development or religion. There are also groups that are involved in political and social causes. This chapter examines well-established special interest groups and the various types of special interest groups, as well as issues related to these groups: health care; guns, hate, and social media warfare; abortion debates and violent acts of extremists; environmentalists and eco-terrorists; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) rights and social media warfare; and religious bias and discrimination in social media warfare.

Chapter 6: Social Media Warfare in the Political Electoral Process: The political electoral process is tumultuous in many countries around the world; it is sometimes characterized by violence and is often laden with ideological conflict and divisiveness. The 2016 presidential election in the United States along with congressional, senatorial, and state-level races were no exception to this pattern of ideological conflict and divisiveness. This chapter examines the role of social media warfare tactics and their use in the 2016 U.S. political electoral process. Topics include convergence, the social media warfare tactics of political candidates, blunders in social media warfare, use of social media warfare by the presidential candidates, campaign staff as a liability in social media warfare, use of social media by candidate supporters, monitoring social media activity and effectiveness, and citizens’ sources of information.

Chapter 7: Social Media Warfare for Support of Social Causes: Social causes come and go; some just fade away while others result in the establishment of well-structured special interest groups and various organizations that share the special interest. This chapter examines the use of social media warfare tactics to support social causes (not including the well-established special interests covered in Chapter 5). The social causes examined in this chapter are associated with the Black Lives Matter movement that started in 2014 when, at approximately noon on Saturday, August 9, 2014, an officer of the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old African American. Since the killing of Michael Brown, there have been several other incidents where police have shot and killed African Americans. The Black Lives Matter movement was reactive in those cases, and social media warfare tactics were a key factor in the reactions to and protests against all these incidents. This chapter covers issues associated with social media warfare in support of social causes, including Ferguson, Missouri and Michael Brown, Eric Garner and other cases; the issue of police in the United States feeling under siege; and social media warfare to support social causes around the world.

Chapter 8: Mercenaries and Activists of Social Media Warfare: There has long been a place for mercenaries in warfare, and social media warfare is no exception when it comes to the use of mercenaries. Social media warfare mercenaries and activists are a blend of techies, writers, and activists that can be employed or otherwise motivated to support or oppose a cause or organization. This chapter examines the types of social media warfare mercenaries, how to hire or motivate them, and how to utilize their talents in social media warfare. It provides examples of work performed by social media warfare mercenaries. This chapter also examines the topic of social media warfare rangers and activists and their use of social media warfare tactics.

Chapter 9: Social Media as a Weapon to Recruit and Inspire Violent Extremists: The conflict in Syria and Iraq has attracted Western-based extremists who want to engage in violence. This chapter focuses on the terrorist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also referred to as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and its noted efforts and results in recruiting and inspiring new members. Efforts to stop ISIS success in recruitment and radicalization of devotees are also discussed, including the development of counter narratives and international cooperation to promote grassroots efforts to develop counter narratives, master narratives, and alternative narratives.

Chapter 10: Social Media Warfare for Celebrities and Famous People: Thousands of celebrities and famous people around the world have adopted social media warfare tactics for self-promotion or to support charitable causes. Most of the time, celebrities use social media to promote positive narratives and support causes that are in the public interest. Sometimes, however, celebrities communicate negative narratives and provide an undesirable role model for social behavior. This chapter examines the positive work and outcomes of celebrity use of social media warfare tactics as well as the impact that negative messaging by celebrities can have on society. This includes, non-profit promotional activities of celebrities, positive message promotional activities of celebrities, celebrities and famous people that generate negative messaging, and misleading endorsements using celebrity names and images.

Chapter 11: Child Victims in Social Media Warfare: There are many ways individuals or groups can become victims of social media warfare. The ISIL example discussed in other chapters is certainly an extreme example of what can be done to people using social media warfare. Far removed from that conflict, however, is an ongoing onslaught of attacks on individuals. These can take the form of cyberbul- lying, slander and exposure campaigns, revenge actions such as revenge pornography, and sexual harassment. This chapter examines some of the ways individuals have been harmed by others through the use of adverse social media warfare tactics as well as how social media warfare tactics were used to fight back against perpetrators. Areas covered include cyberbullying, responding to cyberbullying, the threat of online predators to children, social media warfare to rescue missing and exploited children, and child pornography.

Chapter 12: Adult Victims in Social Media Warfare: Adults, like children, can become victims of social media warfare from several sources of attack. These can take the form of harassment, revenge actions, identity theft, fraudulent transactions, and having their computers or phones hacked. Children can certainly be targets of the same sort of attacks but the major concerns about children including cyberbullying, sexual exploitation, kidnapping, and child pornography are covered in Chapter 11. This chapter examines some of the ways adults have been harmed by other individuals using adverse social media warfare tactics, including revenge porn and sextortion, Internet fraud, and identity theft.

Chapter 13: Law Enforcement Response to Social Media Warfare: Law enforcement agencies and officers are stuck right in the middle of social media warfare. Criminal activity is riddled with social media warfare tactics as are law enforcement’s efforts to fight crime. Social protest and civil disobedience is organized quickly using social media and often more quickly than law enforcement can respond. Crimes of fraud and harassment are perpetrated using social media warfare tactics, which creates a challenge for law enforcement to keep abreast of tactics and criminal activity. Another challenge is policing the personal use of social media by law enforcement officers, which at times has been embarrassing and compromising for law enforcement agencies around the world. This chapter examines some of the issues and challenges that law enforcement agencies are addressing in the realm of social media warfare. Topics covered include law enforcement officers’ personal use of social media, social media warfare in intelligence and investigative activities, government training of social media warfare intelligence and investigative professionals, and the qualifications, training, and functions of social media warfare analysts.

Chapter 14: Educational Institutions’ Response to Social Media Warfare: Social media warfare has an impact on educational institutions at all levels. All schools must develop social media use policies for students, staff, and faculty addressing many issues, including appropriate use, cyberbullying, and students using social media to organize protests against schools. Primary and secondary schools need to teach their students about being secure online, and train their teachers and counselors to better enable them to identify potential issues students have with social media. Colleges and universities have had to develop new cur- riculums to address the quickly changing world of social media and its impact on governments, criminal justice, business, and social and cultural life. Colleges and universities also have new research opportunities to examine the impact of social media warfare on contemporary society. This chapter examines many of the issues schools face as a result of social media warfare. Topics covered include the impact on curriculums, student life, and educational administration.

Chapter 15: Monitoring Social Media Warfare Threats: Security agencies and criminal justice investigators in the United States and several countries around the world monitor social media under specific circumstances. In addition, political campaigns, corporations, and special interest groups monitor social media regarding issues that threaten them. They also monitor their known adversaries’ use of social media. This chapter reviews monitoring trends and tools to monitor social media warfare activities. Areas covered include monitoring social media for security and intelligence purposes, for disaster response purposes, and for law enforcement purposes, and developing monitoring technology for social media warfare and social media monitoring tools.

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