An old Internet adage is “no one knows you’re a dog on the Internet”. As it turns out in many cases, no one knows who you are at all – and that may be that is a good thing.
The New York Times of 25 Mar 15 ran an article “Behind a Veil of Anonymity, Online Vigilantes Battle Islamic State” (see: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/25/world/middleeast/behind-a-veil-of-anonymity-online-vigilantes-battle-the-islamic-state.html, which is also the photo source).
The essence of the article is that there is a group of anonymous ‘hackers’ who patrol Social Media in search of Daesh proponents and supporters. These individuals purportedly take the cyber battle to these accounts, particularly on Twitter and Facebook.
The article also emphasizes that a significant number of this cyber vigilantes are women.
This is a global battlefield and for the moment let’s make the assumption that the targets of these hackers are not in the US. Assuming this to be the case, one could argue that the mission of countering Daesh propaganda is a military one and should be undertaken by MISO personnel.
By way of precedent – I think it’s pretty safe to presume that the Chinese info warriors are heavily engaged on behalf of their government in such venues. Given the labor-intensive nature of social media, this would seem to give the Chinese, never at a loss for personnel, a significant advantage. Perhaps it is time for us to take a page out of their playbook for a change.
In addition, the high proportion of civilians and non-state actors engaged in social media on behalf of our enemies mitigates for significant resources, military and civilian to counter the influence threat.
Continuing with the argument does this mean that there needs to be a partnership between civilian and MISO social media counter Daesh personnel?
I’d argue that this is not the case. The leaderless counter-Daesh force should continue in is anonymity while the real question before the community is should MISO (heavily reserve based perhaps) be ‘deployed’ (actually working from home station) as a counter force to Daesh Social Media propaganda?
I’ll leave that answer to you.