Special to WorldTribune.com
The Obama administration’s newly-appointed anti-ISIL czar plans to take a page out of Amazon and Google playbooks to target the terror organization’s online propaganda network.
Michael Lumpkin said on March 14 he plans to target potential jihadi recruits much the same way Amazon or Google sends netizens shopping suggestions based on their online browsing history.
Lumpkin will head up the new Center for Global Engagement, which replaces previous efforts by the Obama administration that failed to put a dent in Islamic State of Iraq and Levant’s (ISIL’s) highly-effective propaganda network.
“You need a network to defeat a network, so we’re going to take a network approach to our messaging,” Lumpkin told the Daily Beast.
The Center for Global Engagement, though paid for by U.S. taxpayers, “is not going to be focused on U.S. messages with a government stamp on them, but rather amplifying moderate credible voices in the region and throughout civil society,” said Lisa Monaco, speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations last week. “Recognizing who is going to have the most legitimate voice and doing everything we can to lift that up and not have it be a U.S. message.”
The center says it will devise a system in which data analysts will work with private industry partners to examine the public information any user leaves on social media. They will then use that information to determine who might be leaning towards radicalism and message them directly.
“This is uncharted territory,” Lumpkin said. “The U.S. government has not done this type of discrete scalpel-like messaging before.”
“Our response to their propaganda has been under resourced, too slow, and too cautious,” Lumpkin said in comments before the Global Special Operations Forces Symposium last month in Palm Harbor, Florida. “In the face of a nimble, adaptive opponent unconstrained by truth or ethics, our people are left swimming in bureaucracy, using outdated technology.”
Lumpkin is seeking $20 million for the center for next year’s budget, double that of this year’s, and he says he’ll ask for more after that.