Information operations on the internet - A catalog of modi operandi


  • Ulrik Franke

Publish date: 2013-04-15

Report number: FOI-R--3658--SE

Pages: 33

Written in: English


  • Internet
  • information operations
  • psychological operations
  • propaganda
  • astroturfing
  • sock puppetry


The advent of modern ICT offers new means by which to target and influence public opinion. Social networks like Facebook, microblogs like Twitter, video services like YouTube and search engines like Google all offer particular means to shape the information environment as perceived by targeted sets of individuals, thus influencing their will, affecting their understanding and impacting their capabilities. This report offers a catalog of available Internet techniques for information operations based on a review of scientific literature, media reporting, and government tenders. The techniques are categorized according to Swedish and NATO information operations doctrine. The aim is not to discuss the technical aspects in detail, but rather to inform policy makers of the new possibilities for adversarial shaping of the information environment. While many actors can use the Internet for propaganda, the focus of the report is on modi operandi available to state actors. Apart from the catalog itself, the report also identifies some strategic implications of information operations on the Internet, including increased range, unintended consequences, the difficulties of military operational planning and the prospects for deception of automated buzz monitoring tools.

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