Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tibet is All A Twitter – But For the Wrong Reasons

I have often talked about “cyber psyop” or cyber influence. The notion of using traditional techniques in the cyber medium. The NY Times on July 22, 2014 ran an article on July 22, 2104, It’s Another Perfect Day in Tibet! (see:, which is also the photo source).

The article talks about the Chinese competent Twitter poster, Tom Hugo (That's Tom's picture above.) Seems Tom is actually a figment, he’s not real, but his Twitter pages are real – real good examples of how PSYOP can be used in cyber space.

Tom and many of his colleagues are the progeny of the PRC’s propaganda machine designed to shape he news in the way the PRC government feels the news ought to look like. The bogus sites were found by a “Free Tibet” group. While there is no direct evidence that the government of the PRC is behind the efforts, most experts concede it would be difficult to point out any others who would benefit from tis type of campaign.

The people in these social media efforts are generally commercial images. Tom Hugo for example is a Brazilian model. Like their PSYOP counterparts in other times and places, there are no MOE on the PRC efforts.

The PRC may have banned Twitter, FaceBook and YouTube in their own country, but it is apparent they recognize how important these social media sites can be for influence purposes.

It would not be a giant leap to see this kind of influence operations extended to Military Deception (MilDec) operations where details of future deployments, or unit readiness are ‘leaked’ via social media postings.

Hopefully all y’all are enjoying your summer. On a travel note, I had a chance to visit the Disney Family Museum at the Presidio of San Francisco and enjoyed it. Here are a couple of Walt’s efforts in WWII. These photos were taken by the author.

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