US Counters Taliban on Twitter

Thursday, 30 Aug 2012 10:40 AM

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The U.S. military is taking steps to counteract the Taliban’s growing influence on Twitter by rebutting false information quickly and reporting abuses of the social media website’s guidelines on violent threats.

The Taliban and other terrorist groups famously try to take credit for attacks, even if they didn’t take part and most of the information they post is false or exaggerated, Army Lt. Col. T.G. Taylor, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, told USA Today.

But now the U.S. is hitting back more effectively, Christopher Paul, an information operations analyst at RAND Corp., told the paper. The Pentagon issues rebuttals through Twitter and other web avenues.

"Insurgents have always wanted to make themselves look like winners," Paul told the paper. "The Internet makes it a whole lot easier."

The Taliban’s aim is to undermine the Afghan government and they see Twitter as a good fit.

"They're all over Twitter," Marine Lt. Col. Stewart Upton, a spokesman for Regional Command Southwest, told USA Today. "They're incessantly tweeting."

The Taliban posts claims quickly and the U.S. in the past has been slow to respond, but Paul said, "We're getting better. There's a practical limit to how good we can get."

The military’s new approach is having an effect as local media is eyeing Taliban claims more skeptically now, USA Today reported.



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