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The role of social networks and the Internet in general in national security and directly in the war in Ukraine was commented by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States, General Mark Milley and the US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin during a budget hearing in the US House of Representatives on Thursday.
The Democratic congresswoman called on the speakers to comment on this topic, in particular in the context of the Russian Federation’s war in Ukraine Marcy Kaptur.
“In terms of hybrid warfare today, I’m very interested in more detailed information about the influence of the Internet on the spread of false information, on subversive activities and how the United States is working to overcome such problems,” Kaptur said.
Minister Lloyd Austin replied that “with all due respect to the Internet and the use of its capabilities in military operations”, the network has not only informational influence, but has also been used for many years in, for example, transnational terrorist activities. “Yes, people are being recruited and encouraged to do illegal things or radicalized over the internet,” Austin says.
“We can see how adversaries are using the Internet to create a number of different effects, and we’re seeing that, as you know, in the war between Russia and Ukraine. We have to be active in that space.[…] This is very important to us and it will continue to grow in the future. We are seeing significant activity in this area and it is directly affecting combat operations,” Minister Lloyd said.
Communication in war and spreading lies in social networks
“Communication is undoubtedly fundamental to conducting military operations. It is one of the key parts of our joint military concept […] From a defensive perspective, our communications systems will become more resilient and less vulnerable to jamming, spoofing or any other type of interference or interception of our signal,” General Milley added.
And regarding social networks and the use of the Internet for propaganda purposes, the general noted: “The iPhone just came out in 2008, so we’re really just at the beginning of the spread [таким шляхом – ред.] information, all kinds of platforms, including emissions of various inaccurate data”.
We have to be careful, because due to disinformation and propaganda, enemy states very often use bots to, in particular, try to influence elections.
“We all need to realize that there are many false things in social networks,” the official added. – And we have to be careful about this, because through disinformation and propaganda, as we know, enemy states very often use bots to, in particular, try to influence our elections, influence elections in Europe and other countries as well.”
Bots of enemy states
According to Milli, the activity of bots is aimed at undermining the situation, in particular, where there is already a split in society on one issue or another. And enemy states can try to exert their influence with the help of social networks. Therefore, the general warned, there are many problems with social networks and how they are used to transmit information, or disinformation.
At the same time, he emphasized that from a military point of view, the Internet is an effective communication system that should be developed and made more stable in order to help the military effectively control and coordinate actions.
Meanwhile, former US National Security Advisor John Bolton also spoke about the role of the Chinese social network TikTok in an interview with the Voice of America’s Ukrainian editorial office. “Huawei, ZTE are not telecommunications companies. TikTok is not a social network for teenagers. It is an intelligence gathering device,” he said.
Voice of America also reported that the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee is considering a bill that could give the US president the power to ban the Chinese social network app TikTok. More than 100 million Americans use it (the network belongs to the Chinese company ByteDance).
Hearing in Congress on TikTok: CEO of the company asks not to block the application
On the same day that General Milley spoke to lawmakers, the CEO of TikTok spoke to the US Congress Show Zi Chu. Due to threats to the privacy of users of this network, it has been banned for use in a number of US and European government agencies. Chu appealed to politicians not to block the app in the US. He also assured that TikTok “never shared or received requests to transfer US user data to the Chinese government.” “TikTok would not comply with such a request if it was ever made,” Chu added.
He claims that ByteDance, which owns TikTok, is not a Chinese spy and is not owned or controlled by any government agency.
Instead, US lawmakers criticized the social network and said the short videos harm children’s mental health, and expressed bipartisan concern about the app’s impact on Americans, including leading to eating disorders among children, encouraging illegal drug sales and sexual exploitation, Reuters reports. .
Chu added about TikTok that during the operation of the application, “American data is stored on American territory by an American company controlled by American personnel.”