Friending Enemies and Influencing People – Identifying and Examining Issues in the Use of Social Media for CF Influence Activities


  1. O'Reilly, N.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Centre for Operational Research and Analysis, Ottawa ON (CAN);Royal Military Coll of Canada, Kingston ONT (CAN)
This report provides an overview of potential policy, legal, and procedural issues facing the use of social media and social networking tools by the Canadian Forces (CF) for Influence Activities (IA) purposes. What is most important is the nature of the medium as forum, insomuch as it is user driven, widely accessible, instantaneous, and, in order to succeed, popular. With the built in audience as user, these technologies present an opportunity for a user to target an audience simply by being a member of that online community. Thus, for those interested in promoting a particular message, be it marketing firms, political organizations, or common interest groups, social networking and social media cannot be ignored. The aim of this paper is to examine current usage of social networking tools in order to expose any potential procedural, policy, or legal issues that would affect the employment of such tools by the CF. In general, the paper finds that while certain policy, legal, and doctrinal issues do exist, none appear to be severe enough to seriously hinder the use of such tools by the CF for a variety of purposes. In fact, the greatest hindrance may be acceptance of the fact that the use of such tools requires relinquishing control of a message to a certain degree. Findings of the report show that, while more detailed work needs to be done in specific areas touched on by the study, the CF and DND should adopt social media and social networking as a force multiplier for IA, bu

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Influence activities;IA;Social media;Policy development;Web 2.0;Public Affairs;PA;Copyright;Social networking;PsyOps
Report Number
DRDC-CORA-CR-2011-081 — Contract Report
Date of publication
01 Jun 2011
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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