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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Israeli army's newest weapons: Tweets, friends, videos

In a bid to sidestep news media, the Israeli military is turning to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to battle its enemies online and unfiltered.

The Israeli Defense Forces plans to create a new unit in the coming months "to train people to represent Israel independently on the Internet and in other arenas," Haaretz reports.

An army spokesman told reporters that the public relations effort is targeted at "mainly an international audience that is less exposed to operational processes. Foreign media do more 'zooming-in' and so it's important to us to show the totality of IDF actions without a filter."

Army spokesman Brig. Gen.  Avi Benayahu said young draftees with social-media expertise would be assigned to carry out the Internet fight.

Here's some background:
The Army Spokesman's Office began working in this area more than a year ago. During Operation Cast Lead it put up YouTube videos of attacks on targets in the Gaza Strip, to illustrate the care the IDF takes to avoid hitting civilians. One such clip showed how the pilot of an IDF helicopter diverted a missile that had been fired at a target when it was realized civilians had entered the target area. ...
The Spokesman's Office has also contacted bloggers who are known as opinion-makers and sent them information and pictures directly.
 For more info, check out the full story in USA Today