Pentagon perception manager knows how to manipulate search engine algorithm
By Daniel Taylor
Comment/Update from Old-Thinker News (July 16, 2011): Here is an interesting field of study for readers to investigate for themselves: Memetic Engineering. Here’s another thought: The “Home Audience” isn’t the only target. The “Arab Spring” was largely initiated and supported by the social networks and twitter. Iran is presently preparing to block a U.S. backed “internet in a suitcase” operation.
Related Story: Pentagon Wants a Social Media Propaganda Machine
The Pentagon announced today that the internet is an active “Operational Domain” for the military. In fact the internet was already targeted by the Pentagon in its 2003 Information Operations Roadmap that outlined a strategy to “fight the net” as if it were an enemy weapons system. The strategy as outlined for the public involves protecting “national security” and sensitive government networks from hack attacks.
Information warfare is the front line of battle in the 21st Century, a fact that the Pentagon is clearly aware of.
“Perception manager” John Rendon is a key figure in the information war. As Rolling Stone reports, his job was to sell the Iraq war to the American people, but Rendon firmly denies any involvement. As of 2005, John’s firm, the Rendon Group, has earned more than $56 million in Pentagon contracts.
In his newly released book The Filter Bubble: What the internet is hiding from you, Eli Pariser of Moveon.org interviews Rendon, where he candidly spoke of perception management in the digital world. Specifically, Rendon hints that he knows how to game the system of search engine algorithms – the system by which pages are ranked and internet searches are displayed – and in turn shift the mindset of the masses.
Rendon stated during the interview, “It begins with getting inside the algorithm. If you could find a way to load your content up so that only your content gets pulled by the stalking algorithm, then you’d have a better chance of shaping belief sets.”
Rendon hinted to Pariser that this was already happening.
“In fact, he suggested, if we looked in the right places, we might be able to see traces of this kind of thing happening now – sentiment being algorithmically shifted over time.”
“I returned to the question about using algorithms to shift sentiment,” writes Pariser.
“I have to think about it more, Rendon said, “But I think I know how to do it.” “How?” I asked. He paused, then chuckled: “Nice try.”