British defence ministry releases plans to monitor social media to gauge public sentiments

A planning document details how the British Armed Forces should develop “automated scanning of social media platforms” to observe “change in population sentiment.” 

British defence ministry releases plans to monitor social media to gauge public sentiments
AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, File
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The British Ministry of Defence has released a document going over its plan to monitor social media platforms to follow social trends and gauge public political sentiment. 

The MOD’s Strategy for Defence document details how the British Armed Forces should develop “automated scanning of social media platforms” to observe “change in population sentiment.” 

"Decision making is enhanced by local surveillance of groups of interest," the document notes, noting that monitoring the rants and conversations of political dissenters will enable “local authorities” to impose “heightened readiness measures.” 

In other words, the British government wants to monitor conversations on Facebook and Twitter to plan responses to protests and other forms of civil disobedience. 

“Nowhere does the document explain why a strategy paper has gone so far off the beaten track that it promotes collecting data the MoD doesn’t have and using it for decidedly non-military purposes,” the Register reported. “In addition, the private sector has been carrying out social media sentiment analysis for more than a decade, whether for power-crazed local council employees or business marketing campaigns tracking how many people dislike a particular product or service.”

According to the Telegraph, author Laura Dodsworth, who investigated the government’s use of behavior psychology in her recent book A State of Fear: How the UK government weaponised fear during the Covid-19 pandemic, says that people have become increasingly reliant on government advice due to the panic the government has created with its often contradictory advice. 

“When you create a state of confusion, people become ever more reliant on the messaging,” she says. “Instead of feeling confident about making decisions, they end up waiting for instructions from the Government.”

“It reminds me very much of what the Government was doing at Christmas, when family Christmases were on, then off, then back on, then off again,” she says. “You have got someone tightening the screw, then loosening the screw, then tightening it again. It’s like a torture scenario.”

The Telegraph article points out that some people believe that they were targeted by the 77th Brigade, which is part of the 6th Division of the Army. According to the Ministry of Defence, the 77th Brigade uses “legitimate non-military levers as a means to adapt behaviours of the opposing forces and adversaries,” Summit News reports, which adds:

Dodsworth said she “hit a brick wall” when attempting to get answers about the unit’s activities, noting, “and I find that when someone puts up a brick wall, it’s because that’s where the real story lies.”

The unit played its role in the broader agenda, facilitated by government-affiliated behavioral psychologists, to terrify the public into mass obedience to lockdown rules by exaggerating the threat posed by COVID.

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  • By Ezra Levant

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