The military sees threats everywhere. That’s its job. In the last few years the military has felt increasingly threatened by social media, and social networks in particular.
New reports Tuesday reveal a large research project funded by the Defense Department’s military research department (AKA Darpa) that tested how people connect, and how ideas are spread, on social sites including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Kickstarter.
The contained numerous separate studies, all based on social network data.
One studied how Occupy activists used Twitter to communicate and organize. Another tracked Internet memes.
One study tracked Tweets and posts about celebrities like Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber to see how liking, following, and tweeting conveyed “influence” in social networks.
Still another involved researchers sending tweets and other messages to users to see how they would respond.
Just before the story of Facebook’s controversial “mood experiments” broke, Darpa published a list of all the studies funded under its Social Media in Strategic Communication (SMISC) program.
The DoD says the goal of the SMISC program is “to develop a new science of social networks built on an emerging technology base.”
The actual research was done by corporations like IBM, and universities like Georgia Tech and Indiana University.
The research has resulted in a massive database of tweets, posts, and other social media fare, all controlled by Darpa.