The British military will soon have a specially trained group of psychological operations fighters waging a "non-lethal" information war on social media outlets.
The 1,500-strong 77th Brigade, referred to as "Facebook Warriors," will be based in Hermitage, and will work to control the narrative on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, reported The Guardian.
A primary atypical tactic the group will use to fight adversaries and control the narrative is called "reflexive control," which involves spreading specifically crafted information with the goal of getting an opponent to act in a certain way, according to Gizmodo.
The group will use "dynamic narratives" such as spreading disinformation, real war "truths," and "false flag" incidents in order to deliver a "means of shaping behavior," The Independent reported.
The U.S. and Israeli military already engage in similar online propaganda operations.
In 2011, The Guardian revealed that the U.S. military was developing online persona management software to secretly manipulate social media sites. The software allows one military member to control up to 10 separate fake "sock puppet" identities based around the world. Centom stipulated that each identity must be complete with a convincing background, history and supporting details.
A British army spokesman said, the "77th Brigade is being created to draw together a host of existing and developing capabilities essential to meet the challenges of modern conflict and warfare. It recognises that the actions of others in a modern battlefield can be affected in ways that are not necessarily violent."
Recruitment will begin in the spring and soldiers with journalism skills who are well acquainted with social media will be primarily sought for the role.
"The brigade consists of more than just traditional capabilities," said Chief of the Army, General Sir Nick Carter. "It is an organisation that sits at the heart of trying to operate 'smarter'. It comprises a blend of regular troops from all three services as well as reserves and civilians. It will be seeking to draw the very best talent from the regulars and reserve as well as finding new ways of allowing civilians with bespoke skills to serve alongside their military counterparts."