Democrats have ramped up the severity of their attacks on President Trump, resorting now to using a technology that was originally intended to combat ISIS.
An anti-Trump left-wing political action committee is planning to unleash on Trump’s campaign a software that was originally funded by tax-payers to fight against ISIS propaganda.
The new group intends to use the software to fight any positive messaging about Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic in a last ditch effort to prop up Joe Biden.
“The group, Defeat Disinfo, will use artificial intelligence and network analysis to map discussion of the president’s claims on social media,” The Washington Post reported. “It will seek to intervene by identifying the most popular counter-narratives and boosting them through a network of more than 3.4 million influencers across the country — in some cases paying users with large followings to take sides against the president.”
Social media guru Curtis Hougland is heading up Defeat Disinfo, and he said he received the funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Pentagon’s secretive research arm when his work was “part of an effort to combat extremism overseas.”
Hougland explained in an interview with the Post that he was unhappy that top social media accounts often supported Trump, and had effectively defended the president in recent days from claims that he had suggested Americans inject themselves with disinfectant.
This new attack plan by the Democrats has led to serious questions about the legality of their tactics as people wonder whether taxpayer funds are being repurposed for political means and whether social media platforms have rules in place that could stymie Hougland’s efforts.
In a statement that was posted on social media, DARPA flatly rejected the Post’s reporting, and said Hougland was apparently misrepresenting the agency’s work.
“Hougland’s claim DARPA funded the tech at the heart of his political work is grossly misleading,” DARPA tweeted. “He advised briefly on ways to counter ISIS online. He was not consulted to design AI or analysis tools, nor certainly anything remotely political. DARPA is strictly apolitical.”
“Hougland had a tertiary consulting role advising an agency program on how to explore new and better ways to counter America’s adversaries online,” a spokesperson for DARPA said.
“He was not consulted for technical expertise designing artificial intelligence or network analysis tools, nor certainly any research that was remotely political. … Unequivocally, DARPA funding did not help advance the technology with which Hougland now works any more than does his use of other agency technologies like the internet or mobile phone.”
According to Fox News, a Facebook spokesperson weighed in on the controversy, saying “our policies require creators and publishers to tag business partners in their branded content posts when there’s an exchange of value between a creator or publisher and a business partner.”
Politicians and PACs who are authorized under Facebook’s policy entitled “Ads About Social Issues, Elections or Politics” are allowed to use the site’s branded content tool, the spokesperson added.
The left-wing group is being advised by retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who led U.S. forces in Afghanistan before he was fired by then-President Obama in 2010 for deriding his civilian bosses in a Rolling Stone interview.
McChrystal told the Post that the operation was necessary, even if it might appear unseemly.
“Everyone wishes the Pandora’s box was closed and none of this existed, but it does,” McChrystal said.
While McChrystal has not explicitly endorsed Biden, the information warfare being deployed by the group will certainly aim to benefit the former Vice President.