US military battles Taliban on social media

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Social TV becoming a hit

The Pentagon is bolstering its efforts to counteract the Taliban’s rising use of social media portals by actively responding to false claims and reporting accounts that have violated the sites’ guidelines.

Websites or Twitter accounts linked to terrorist groups often claim responsibility for various attacks. However, the majority of the information they offer is either untrue or exaggerated, according to T.G. Taylor, a spokesman for US Central Command.

Christopher Paul, an Information Operations Analyst at RAND Corp, commented that the Pentagon is becoming more efficient at disseminating rebuttals via Twitter and other social media sites.

He explained that terrorists always want to portray themselves as the winners and this can easily be accomplished in cyberspace. It is just as important to win the information war is as it is to win on the battlefield because information shapes public opinion.

The Taliban and other terrorist organisations issued videos and statements to make people believe that Afghanistan is very chaotic and in order to weaken the authority of the government.

Despite the Taliban’s aversion to modern technology, they are now using social media, noted military officials.

“They’re all over Twitter. They’re incessantly tweeting,” said Stewart Upton, Spokesman for Regional Command Southwest.

Although internet access is very limited in Afghanistan, cellular phones have facilitated the Taliban’s use of social media. They spread their messages using social media sites, the local news, and satellite television.

The Pentagon used to grapple with countering the Taliban’s propaganda in Afghanistan, but lately they’ve been getting better, Paul added.


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