France strengthens its response to Social Warfare

For several years, France has been the subject of several attacks aimed at manipulating part of public opinion via social networks, attacks mainly carried out from foreign countries sometimes hostile to the country, or to certain political orientations. Several emblematic cases of these coordinated attacks have been revealed to the general public, such as the social uproar driven from Turkey around the murder of Samuel Paty, this professor murdered by a radical Islamist in his classroom, or the false revelations around emails of the campaign team of candidate Macron 2 days before the second round of the presidential elections, revelations which ultimately turned out to be composed of false documents and false information, and whose origin would point in the direction of Moscow and the hacker group ATP28 . As new electoral deadlines loom at the end of 2021 and in 2022, the French government has announced the creation of a new agency specialized in the fight against these campaigns Of which we chose to call Social Warfare.

Concretely, this new agency, which should see the light of day by September 2021, will be attached to the Secretariat of Defense and National Security, and will have up to 70 employees. Its objective will not be to arbitrate fake news or to play a sensor role, as many will hastily accuse it of doing, but to identify the origins of these campaigns, in particular those which have been orchestrated since and /or by a foreign country, as well as to analyze the methodology, in particular the use of robots and fake social network accounts to increase its distribution, or what is commonly called “troll factories”, namely teams specialized in disseminating and extending the messages of this hostile campaign. This area is now rapidly becoming militarized, as major component of Information Warfare.

peter trolls factory News Defense | Defense institutional communication | Cyber ​​Forces and Military Intelligence
Identified by several journalistic investigations, this building in Saint-Pertesbourg would be one of the most important Troll factories in Russia, and would have played an important role in the smear campaign of Hilary Clinton in 2016 during the American presidential elections against Donald Trump.

Given the sensitivity of the subject, particularly at the political level, the agency will be under the supervision of an ethics committee composed of a representative of the Higher Audiovisual Committee or CSA, an ambassador to assess the implications international revelations, a magistrate for legal issues, researchers and specialized journalists, as well as a member of the Council of State, the highest national legal body in the country. Surprisingly, there is no mention of any member belonging to ANSII, the National Agency for Information Systems Security, nor of any member of the Ministry of the Armed Forces, both yet at the forefront in this field, and at the origin of several surveys and expertise in this area.

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