On August 24 what is in effect the social media warfare division of the Atlantic Council published an article accusing the Russian television and print news outlet RT of running a one-sided attack against the Democratic Party and several leaders thereof ahead of this November’s politically pivotal Senate and House of Representatives elections. (Thirty-five Senate seats and all 435 House seats are being contested.)
The Atlantic Council, until recently kept comparatively in the shadows for obvious reasons, is a think tank that has more than any other organization effected the transition of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization from a seeming Cold War relic with the break-up of the Warsaw Pact and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 to the world’s only and history’s first international military network with 70 members and partners on six continents currently. All thirteen new full member states are in Eastern and Central Europe; four of them border Russia.
Three months ago it began collaborating with Facebook to police and censor that and (presumably) soon after other social media companies which in recent decades have become the major sources of information and communication for the seven billion citizens of the planet. No modest undertaking.
This is by way of follow up to a Directive on Social Media issued four years ago by NATO’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), the bloc’s military command in Europe (which also oversees activities in Israel and until the activation of U.S. Africa Command ten years ago almost all of Africa).
Excerpts from that directive include:
One key challenge is the need to keep informed regarding social media ‘discussions’ on NATO and global security matters in order to maintain situational awareness. Key vulnerabilities include security concerns and the ease by which information can be transmitted globally using social media tools.
It also addresses use of social media for what it calls “operations,” which frequently is a euphemism for bombings, missile attacks and all-out war. Witness Operation Allied Force (Yugoslavia 1999), Operation Unified Protector (Libya 2011), NATO Training Mission-Iraq (starting in 2004), International Security Assistance Force/Operation Resolute Force (Afghanistan from 2001 to the present) and Operation Atlantic Resolve (aimed at Russia since 2015).