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Pentagon to Monitor 'New Battleground' of Social Media

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Washington - The Pentagon is asking experts to help figure out how to detect and counter propaganda on social media networks in the aftermath of the Arab uprising.

The US military's high-tech research wing, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), has sent a request for experts to look at 'a new science of social networks' that would attempt to get ahead of the curve of events unfolding on new media.

The program aims to track 'purposeful or deceptive messaging and misinformation" in social networks and to pursue'. According to DARPA's request for proposals issued on July 14, the program will also help 'counter messaging of detected adversary influence operations', The Telegraph reports.

Some senior US officials have spoken of the need to better track unrest revealed in social networks and to look for ways to shape outcomes in the Arab world through Twitter, Facebook or YouTube.

"Events of strategic as well as tactical importance to our Armed Forces are increasingly taking place in social media space. We must, therefore, be aware of these events as they are happening and be in a position to defend ourselves within that space against adverse outcomes," an announcement by DARPA said.

"Changes to the nature of conflict resulting from the use of social media are likely to be as profound as those resulting from previous communications revolutions," it added.

DARPA has planned to spend 42 million dollars on the Social Media in Strategic Communication (SMISC) program, with prospective contractors asked to test algorithms through experiments with social media.

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