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TROLL-QAEDA: The US's new way of fighting terror

TROLL-QAEDA: The US's new way of fighting terror

Thu July 19, 2012 4:13pm

AFTER years of trying to win over hearts and minds in the field, the US State Department has a new tactic in the war on terror - trolling.

A Silicon Valley dot com veteran now working for the Government has launched a program called “Viral Peace” which aims to occupy online terror sites and shame, humiliate and annoy fundamentalists, Wired reports.

State Department senior technology adviser Shahed Amanullah told the magazine he wanted to use “logic, humour, satire, [and] religious arguments, not just to confront [extremists], but to undermine and demoralize them”.

Presumably this will involve infiltrating comment threads with lots of comments like "LAME" "You call yourselves a terrorist?", flame wars and pedobears.

Mr Amanullah said rather than trying to censor or take down these extremist websites, a better strategy would be to undermine the macho element so heavily promoted across them.

“Online extremists have an energy," he said. "They’ve got a vitality that frankly attracts some of these at-risk people.

“It appeals to macho, it appeals to people’s rebellious nature, it appeals to people who feel downtrodden.”

The aim of the program is to train trolls internationally and let them do the work in their own languages and cultures.

“I want to prove you can do small, inexpensive, high-impact projects that don’t just talk about the problem but solve the problem,” Mr Amanullah said. “And solve it the right way: not with the government’s heavy hand but by empowering local people to do what they already know to do but don’t know how.”

Leading jihad researcher Jarret Brachman agreed with this tactic, calling the people who post on the forums "massive narcissists who need constant ego boosts".

“If you can get rid of them, it’ll pay dividends,” Mr Brachman said.  

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