My 2014 Warnings of Social Media Election Influence by Hostile Nations Went Ignored!
By Patrick Bergy
4 November 2017, Tampa – In late 2014, myself, a three-time Purple Heart recipient, a NASA engineer, and another IT guy, all set out to provide out troops overseas with a safe way to feel that “Touch of Home.” We launched, MOPS Networks, a veteran based non-profit as a free way to provide video on demand and social media services to our troops overseas. I originally published this article on our MOPS Networks website (now shutdown) back in late 2014 or early 2015. The next few paragraphs will help to setup the original article, ‘Targeting US Military Families through Social Media,’ which I included below. Here is a quote from my 2014 article:
“Right now, as you are reading this article, there are literally thousands of people in Russia, China, Iran and the U.S. that are paid by their government (or by a company or terrorist organization), pretending to be someone that they are not, posting comments on every major (and even smaller) social media sites, blogs and even online media sites. Their mission, to push a narrative that favors their employer, product or country, and you will never know it.”
Our veteran based non-profit project failed after the Director of TV for the Armed Forces Network started contacting our mutual vendors, like FOX Entertainment and others, telling them not to do business with us. We discovered a short time after that AFN had secured a multi-million dollar video on demand agreement with Comcast, and they didn’t want to compete with a veteran based non-profit that was offering content providers a tax deduction for content they were otherwise donating to AFN, but without the tax deduction.
A report from an investigation by the Inspector General acknowledged the collusion between AFN, FOX Entertainment, and others, but lawyer’s from the major networks blocked the investigation, according the the IG’s final report. I go into much greater detail on this in my book, Victim of the Swamp: How the “Deep State” Destroyed the 40-Year-Old-Private.
One of the major issues our veteran based non-profit was trying to address, was the threat to our troops overseas, and their families back home, from terrorists and hostile nations using social media. Sound familiar? Notice in my article, Russia wasn’t the only threat I mention. In watching the recent Senate “Hearing on Social Media Influence in the 2016 United States Election,” I wanted to again be at least one voice of reason that points out Russia is not our only threat. It’s great our Senator’s are looking into this, but it was in so many instances seen as a partisan, political opportunity for Senators, and less about addressing a problem ALL OF THESE SENATORS have known about for a very long time.
It seems to me they haven’t learned that their decades of complaining, but not fixing, did not result in any lessons learned from the 2016 election. I hope voters are again paying attention in 2018. I would bet at least half of the Senators in that room, both Republican and Democrat, had knowledge of, or participated in, some sort of covert, social media election influence in 2016 and likely previous elections.
Targeting US Military Families through Social Media
By Patrick Bergy
(December, 2014?) Seoul, South Korea – It seems like every day there is another article in the news reporting on how a company’s website was hacked and thousands of customers lost personal information. Recently, a group out of Austria filed a lawsuit against Facebook for collecting their information and using it in ways we will likely never fully understand.
During the 2010 and 2012 elections, Facebook conducted a “randomized controlled trial of political mobilization messages delivered to 61 million Facebook users during the 2010 US congressional elections.” Why should this worry Republicans, just look at this screenshot from Facebook’s own website for that answer. Seems like they favor supporting Democrats? Just wait until the Republican’s catch on and start paying more. Do you think Facebook cares about politics more than profit?
Although Republicans should be immediately concerned about the above screenshot, it is only a matter of time until everyone with the right amount of money is using social media to control our moods, voting habits, diets, and yes, even wars – and you will likely never even know that it happened, or what company, country or political party was responsible. This isn’t some sort of fringe, radical conspiracy theory – it is already happening.
Right now, as you are reading this article, there are literally thousands of people in Russia, China, Iran and the U.S. that are paid by their government (or by a company or terrorist organization), pretending to be someone that they are not, posting comments on every major (and even smaller) social media sites, blogs and even online media sites. Their mission, to push a narrative that favors their employer, product or country, and you will never know it.
Here is just a 2 minute search.
Every major country, corporation and extremist group is getting in on the action. Think that person you are arguing with online in that forum you are in, or in the comments section below that article you just read on CNN is a real person? You shouldn’t be so sure about that. Sometimes, they are pretty easy to spot, but the more sophisticated organizations are so well coordinated and organized in documenting everything they do, and instructed on everything they say, you will never, ever even know you have just been socially played.
Recent events involving over 100 military and their families should be a real wake-up call though.
From 2007 to 2009, the U.S. government understood this threat and acted to protect military families by blocking most of the major social media networks on all bases. Although their intentions were good, without another viable, commercial option for service members to communicate safely with their families back home, or any real enforcement of the regulations available off base, they again made social media available to our troops on base. What we should learn from this failed experiment is that you cannot take something away from someone, without offering them an even greater experience without expecting less than positive results. MilTube would be a great example of that.
This threat is very real to everyone in the military. Family members, friends, battle buddies – everyone. That is why MOPS Networks is building our MOPS verified secure social media platform, strictly for verified active and prior military, their families and civilian assets that support them. With membership thoroughly vetted and verified by ID.me and strong account security measures, all service members, both active and prior, will have a safe and secure means by which to communicate with their families and battle buddies. Eventually, even certain friends can be sponsored by members once their ID has been verified, but access to profiles outside of their sponsors will be restricted. Encrypted chat and VOIP phone capabilities will be brought online shortly after our official launch. The MOPS social network will also be linked to FreedomStream.TV, our members only, online VOD service that will allow you to share your favorite movies and watch what is trending. A truly first of its kind integration of social media and home entertainment!
This is a new, digital world we are living in. There are people (criminals, governments, terrorists) everywhere that seek to do you, your family and your country harm. Even with the most secure social media site, you should always keep yourself informed of new scams, and understand all the tools and knowledge bases out there that can help you to prevent, or at least limit the likelihood of something happening to you.