PAKISTAN RUNS A TWITTER DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN TO SPREAD ANTI-INDIA FAKE NEWS
In the wake of advanced technological evolution, Twitter became the most recognisable names in the contemporary tech. But, with the growing popularity comes the drawbacks. The large-scale disinformation campaigns run by several countries on Twitter have waged war-like situations.
The India-Pakistan conflict that goes back to 1947, is one example in which Twitter disinformation campaigns have heightened the intensity of war. As the world is changing, the war methods too have transformed from battlefields to a new arena – cyberspace domain. Not only does a cyber warfare differs from traditional warfare, but it is a much broader concept focusing more on the offensive and conventional defensive front ranging from state-sponsored infiltration to individual hackers trying to influence the pre-known outcomes.
The small-scale cyberattacks between both India and Pakistan have become more frequent as both the countries have been using the cyberspace for gaining tactical advantages over the other. However, in context of comparing cyber operations – Twitter disinformation campaigns and offensive cyber capabilities, India still has leverage over Pakistan.
India’s Srivastava Group is one such threat actor that successfully carried out wide scale media campaigns to isolate Pakistan internationally while countering nations in conflict with India in Asia. The firm was alleged to have been running 750 fake media outlets to serve the Indian State’s interests, as a part of a 15-year global operation.
To match up to India’s potential, Pakistan-based state actors reportedly used Twitter to generate and amplify anti-India disinformation campaign. Disinfolab, India-based private organisation, run by a group of Open-source intelligence (OSINT) experts released a report titled, “The Anatomy of Pakistan’s 5th generation warfare, How Twitter’s loophole is being weaponised to create conflict in South Asia”.
Through the Twitter disinformation campaign, Pakistan-based state actors brought into existence a fake organisation with the name of South Asian United Social Media Front (SAUMF). It has fictitious members from different South–Asian countries, to lend credibility to their warfare campaign.
The Disinfolab experts found that by “July 2020, the Pakistani establishment decided to create a full-scale fake news industry by way of SAUSMF. SAUSMF website was hosted by Pak Cabinet Minister and one of the closest advisors of PM Imran Khan, Jahangir Khan Tareen, on his server”. The website was removed from the server once the report by Disinfolab became public.
Clearly, Pakistan’s menace of fake news corresponds to the disinformation campaign led by India’s Srivastava Group (SG). It doesn’t exactly pressurise India, for the country already has potential private actors to fight anti-India propagandas and the list is up and growing.
SG is one of many secret companies in India that possibly promote pro-government agendas. The objective is to extend the idea of hybrid warfare against Pakistan, which still has a long way to match up to India’s potential. The point to be noted is that the constant use of Twitter disinformation campaign has overall aggravated the concept of fifth generation warfare.