Recent events have demonstrated that targeted disinformation campaigns can have consequences that impact the lives and safety of information consumers. On social media platforms and in messaging apps, disinformation spread like a virus, infecting information consumers with contempt for democratic norms and intolerance of the views and actions of others. These events have highlighted the deep political and social divisions within the United States. Disinformation helped to ignite long-simmering anger, frustration, and resentment, resulting, at times, in acts of violence and other unlawful behavior.
DHS Public-Private Analytic Exchange Program Report: Combatting Targeted Disinformation Campaigns A Whole-of-Society Issue October 2019
In today’s information environment, the way consumers view facts, define truth, and categorize various types of information does not adhere to traditional rules. The shift from print sources of information to online sources and the rise of social media have had a profound impact on how consumers access, process, and share information. These changes have made it easier for threat actors to spread disinformation and exploit the modern information environment, posing a significant threat to democratic societies. Accordingly, disinformation campaigns should be viewed as a whole-of-society problem requiring action by government stakeholders, commercial entities, media organizations, and other segments of civil society.
Department of Justice Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election
The Internet Research Agency (IRA) carried out the earliest Russian interference operations identified by the investigation-a social media campaign designed to provoke and amplify political and social discord in the United States. The IRA was based in St. Petersburg, Russia, and received funding from Russian oligarch Yevgeniy Prigozhin and companies he controlled. The IRA later used social media accounts and interest groups to sow discord in the U.S. political system through what it termed “information warfare.” The campaign evolved from a generalized program designed in 2014 and 2015 to undermine the U.S. electoral system, to a targeted operation that by early 2016 favored candidate Trump and disparaged candidate Clinton. The IRA’s operation also included the purchase of political advertisements on social media in the names of U.S. persons and entities, as well as the staging of political rallies inside the United States. To organize those rallies, IRA employees posed as U.S. grassroots entities and persons and made contact with Trump supporters and Trump Campaign officials in the United States. The investigation did not identify evidence that any U.S. persons conspired or coordinated with the IRA. Section II of this report details the Office’s investigation of the Russian social media campaign.
Open source platforms can be used by criminals to instigate or conduct illegal activity and by terrorists to recruit and encourage new members, disseminate violent extremist messaging through video or documents, coordinate activities, and claim responsibility for attacks around the world. As such, law enforcement and analytic personnel should understand the uses of social media and be aware of social media tools that can be used to document criminal and terrorist activity. A wide variety of open source analysis tools—both no-cost and paid—is available to public and private sector organizations, including law enforcement and analytic personnel, and the technology continues to evolve. ROSA tools that access only publicly available information and are capable of searching multiple platforms simultaneously are assets for maximizing efficiency during authorized uses by law enforcement and analytic personnel.
Joint Chiefs of Staff White Paper on Social and Cognitive Neuroscience Underpinnings of ISIL Behavior
This White Paper makes a significant contribution to the study of terrorist behavior in general and ISIL behavior in particular. Unique in this work is the melding of neuroscientific considerations about the basic structures and functions of the brain with social and cultural influences in order to provide a holistic insight into the motivations for terrorist behaviors. Importantly, this paper also explores the relationship between the narratives that support terrorist behavior and the neuro-cognitive processes that contribute to those behaviors. That relationship is accurately portrayed as symbiotic in the sense that one can only truly understand seemingly aberrant behavior if one understands the continuous ebb and flow of chemical and cultural influences that are manifested in an individual’s actions.
(U//FOUO) Colorado Fusion Center Bulletin: Law Enforcement Officers Should Minimize or Eliminate Social Media Footprint
The Colorado Information Analysis Center (CIAC) is disseminating this awareness bulletin to help law enforcement officers and military personnel to minimize their social media footprint and protect their identity and family. Recent calls for attacks against law enforcement officers by foreign terrorist organizations and recent reports released by the U.S. Senate Select Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA’s Detention Interrogation Program may exacerbate tensions or even spark violence against officers, intelligence personnel, government officials, and their families. This awareness bulletin seeks to make general recommendations to limit an individual’s digital footprint and diminish a violent actor’s targeting capability.
The FBI and NCIS believe a group of cyber actors have been using various social networking sites to conduct spear phishing activities since at least 2011. FBI and NCIS investigation to date has uncovered 56 unique Facebook personas, 16 domains, and a group of IP addresses associated with these actors. These personas typically would attempt to befriend specific types of individuals such as government, military, or cleared defense contractor personnel. After establishing an online friendship the actor would send a malicious link (usually through one of the associated domains) to the victim, either through e-mail or in a chat on the social networking site eventually compromising the target’s computer.
Data contained within social network sites may assist law enforcement in gathering timely information in furtherance of crime prevention, preservation of public order, and the investigation of criminal activity, including suspected terrorist activity. These guidelines are promulgated, in part, to instill the proper balance between the investigative potential of social network sites and privacy expectations.
The use of social media is a relatively new phenomenon in policing. Development of formal policy on social media is generally lagging behind practice. A variety of legal, civil rights, and privacy-related issues regarding social media have been raised, but these issues have not yet been settled by legislatures or resolved in the courts. Social Media and Tactical Considerations for Law Enforcement summarizes discussions at a national conference of police executives on these issues, and analyzes the experiences of selected law enforcement agencies in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom that have shown leadership in advancing the use of social media for various purposes. Police agencies can use social media to facilitate two-way communications with the public to disseminate information, manage political demonstrations and other major events, obtain intelligence about “flash mobs” or rioting, and investigate crimes.
DHS and its operational components have recognized the value of using social media to gain situational awareness and support mission operations, including law enforcement and intelligence-gathering efforts. However, additional oversight and guidance are needed to ensure that employees use technologies appropriately. In addition, improvements are needed for centralized oversight to ensure that leadership is aware of how social media are being used and for better coordination to share best practices. Until improvements are made, the Department is hindered in its ability to assess all the benefits and risks of using social media to support mission operations.
Nation-state adversaries regularly use accounts on popular social networking sites to facilitate social engineering against DoD members. Information disclosed or discovered on social networking sites creates a significant operations security (OPSEC) concern and in the context of a wide spread collection effort could be by adversaries to form a classified picture.
These guidelines set out the approach that prosecutors should take when making decisions in relation to cases where it is alleged that criminal offences have been committed by the sending of a communication via social media. The guidelines are designed to give clear advice to prosecutors who have been asked either for a charging decision or for early advice to the police, as well as in reviewing those cases which have been charged by the police. Adherence to these guidelines will ensure that there is a consistency of approach across the CPS.
The Office of Operations Coordination and Planning (OPS), National Operations Center (NOC), has statutory responsibility to (1) provide situational awareness and establish a common operating picture for the federal government, and for state, local, and tribal governments as appropriate, in the event of a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or other man-made disaster, and (2) ensure that critical terrorism and disaster-related information reaches government decisionmakers. Traditional media sources and, more recently, social media sources such as Twitter, Facebook, and a vast number of blogs provide public reports on breaking events with a potential nexus to homeland security. By examining open source traditional and social media information, comparing it with many other sources of information, and including it where appropriate into reports, the NOC can provide a more comprehensive picture of breaking or evolving events.
This Instruction applies throughout DHS regarding the access to and collection, use, maintenance, retention, disclosure, deletion, and destruction of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) in relation to operational use of social media, with the exception of operational use of social media for: (a) communications and outreach with the public authorized by the Office of Public Affairs; (b) situational awareness by the National Operations Center; (c) situational awareness by Components other than the National Operations Center, upon approval by the Chief Privacy Officer following completion of a Social Media Operational Use Template; and (d) the conduct of authorized intelligence activities carried out by the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, the intelligence and counterintelligence elements of the United States Coast Guard, or any other Component performing authorized foreign intelligence or counterintelligence functions, in accordance with the provisions of Executive Order 12333, as amended.
A list of current, ongoing, and planned Department of Defense Science and Technology Strategic Communication (SC) programs taken from the 2009 Strategic Communication Science and Technology Plan compiled by the Defense Research and Engineering Rapid Reaction Technology Office.
The Air Force Public Affairs Agency created this guide to help all Airmen safely and wisely use social media. This guide provides simple, easy-to-follow tips to help you use social media tools in your professional and personal life. This guide is for informational purposes only and does not replace official Air Force instructions.
A manual for the Department of Homeland Security’s Media Monitoring Capability that was reportedly obtained by EPIC via a FOIA request. The manual has been slightly redacted by DHS to remove names and contact information and the URL of the Network Operations Center Media Monitoring Capability reporting website. This website has been listed in three of the four publicly available manuals as an example of a website monitored by DHS.
Social media are web-based and mobile technologies that turn communication into an interactive dialogue in a variety of online fora. It may be appropriate for the government, including DHS, to use social media for a variety of reasons. The President has challenged his Administration to use technology and tools to create a more efficient, effective, and transparent government1. DHS recognizes that the use of social media by government actors must occur with appropriate privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties protections; whether DHS is disclosing its informationand press releases via social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, reviewing news feeds for situational awareness, or researching identified, discrete targets for legitimate investigatory purposes. Accordingly, DHS has created Department-wide standards designed to protect privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties in each category of its use.
A study directed by the Commanding General, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), “Study to Establish Levels of Digital Literacy for Soldiers and Leaders in the U.S. Army” from February 28, 2011.
DHS Human Factors/Behavioral Sciences Division presentation on social network analysis, behavioral threat detection and biometrics programs as of May 2009.
Federal Reserve Bank of New York (“FRBNY”) is extending to suppliers an invitation to participate in an Sentiment Analysis And Social Media Monitoring Solution RFP bid process. The intent is to establish a fair and equitable partnership with a market leader who will who gather data from various social media outlets and news sources and provide applicable reporting to FRBNY. This Request for Proposal (“RFP”) was created in an effort to support FRBNY’s Social Media Listening Platforms initiative.
A social networking site (SNS) is a web-based service that allows communities of people to share common interests and/or experiences. Rather than using direct point-to-point communication to stay in touch (e.g., face-toface, phone, text/video messages), SNSs allow users to publish information that can be read later by other users (a one-to-many form of communication) and follow their friend’s postings and provide comments. SNSs provide innovative methods for interacting with friends through third-part applications, such as simple games (tic-tac-toe, paper-rock-scissors), interactive maps to show places visited across the world, and quiz/trivia games which allow for score comparison with others. Many SNSs also allow users to logon from mobile devices that have web browser access to the Internet, allowing them to check and update their accounts from virtually any location with a Wi-Fi or cellular signal.
FOUO Penn State Applied Research Laboratory Social Network/Information Analysis Brief from October 2010.