The Pentagon Scans Social Media To Prevent “Embarrassment” of Generals

Generals are probably among the last people you’d expect to have thin (social media) skin. Nevertheless – here we are. In the US, the secret service of the Pentagon (Department of Defense) is tasked with protecting top military personnel on many fronts (reasonable ones such as assassination, kidnapping, etc.) – but also, no less than from “embarrassment.” And it isn’t just any “embarrassment” that the Protective Services Battalion is trying to nullify and keep military leaders “safe” from – it’s what a report from The Intercept describes as “mean tweets” that the unit is fighting against – while ostensibly also dealing with actual threats. A US military procurement document dated September of last year details what exactly the Protective Services Battalion is looking for as its members scour the internet: not merely threats – be they direct, indirect – and even, veiled – but also, “negative sentiment.” Once again – what essentially comes down to shielding top brass from criticism – is seen as yet another instance of the across-the-board focus on online “disinformation” that the US authorities have become positively obsessed with. But when it comes to the Battalion’s Twitter battles against “negative sentiment” – i.e., freely expressed opinions about high-ranking officials (military or otherwise) – how exactly does that work in harmony with a functioning democracy? Not well, some privacy advocates are saying. Privacy comes into play here because in order to perform the duty of monitoring the web for “mean tweets” and such, the Battalion is searching…The Pentagon Scans Social Media To Prevent “Embarrassment” of Generals