In 2012, the Israel Defense Forces launched a bombing campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
A study showed that during the conflict, a spike in pro-Hamas tweets resulted in a reduction of IDF bombing activity by 177%.
Pro-Hamas tweets literally stopped Israeli bombs.
Social Media will become the most important battlefield of the 21st century.
Soon, perhaps already, conventional wars will be unwinnable without winning the war of narrative.
Social media allows individuals to put massive, coordinated pressure on politicians – which sway wartime decisions.
The platforms also let people form communities that can do things at scales and speeds previously only achievable by governments and multinational corporations.
For example, in 2013, the Ukrainian prime minister was ousted in a popular uprising, throwing the government into disarray
The former PM had Russian support. Russia reacted by forcibly annexing Crimea – at the time part of Ukraine.
This move forced Ukraine into a pseudo-civil war between Ukrainian nationalists and Russian separatists who wanted Ukraine to join Russia.
With the government in shambles, the Ukrainian nationalist forces struggled to stay supplied.
Anna Sandalova, a Ukrainian civilian, started the Facebook group "Help the Army of Ukraine."
Through Facebook, she raised funds, bought supplies, and ran logistics operations to supply Ukrainian nationalist forces.
She is still doing this today.
Social media also gives governments the ability to influence audiences both domestically and abroad.
Sometimes through misinformation and propaganda.
Social media platforms sell sophisticated advertising data based on what you like and consume.
After 10 likes, Facebook knows you better than a coworker. After 300 likes, Facebook knows you better than your spouse.
Russian internet trolls did this during the 2016 presidential election.
They created highly individualized advertisements targeting swing voters in key voting districts...
...using data you gave to Facebook.
Advertising and propaganda techniques will only become more personalized and effective – and you may never consciously realize their influence.
All users on all social media platforms have become front line soldiers in wars of narrative and culture.
Every time you consume or share content, you boost that signal – perhaps furthering a misinformation campaign.
your connections - your fellow comrades-in-arms - to do the same.
Likewar by P.W. Singer and Emerson T. Brooking Cyberwar by Kathleen Hall Jameison War in 140 Characters by David Patrikarakos