“The personnel of 77th Brigade is not that of your typical military unit.
Soldiers in the 77th Brigade, which was formed in 2015, are based in Berkshire and spend their time producing video and audio content, using data to understand how the public receives different messages, and creating “attitude and sentiment awareness” from large sets of social media data
One of their most infamous members is Gordon MacMillan, a Senior Twitter executive. He joined the social media company’s UK office in 2013, and has for several years also served with the 77th Brigade, a unit formed in 2015 to develop “non-lethal” ways of waging war.
The 77th Brigade uses social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, as well as podcasts, data analysis and audience research to conduct what the head of the UK military, General Nick Carter, describes as “information warfare”.
Carter says the 77th Brigade is giving the British military “the capability to compete in the war of narratives at the tactical level” and to shape perceptions of conflict. Some soldiers who have served with the unit say they have been engaged in operations intended to change the behaviour of target audiences.
What exactly MacMillan is doing with the unit is difficult to determine, however: he has declined to answer any questions about his role, as has Twitter and the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD).
Twitter would say only that “we actively encourage all our employees t o pursue external interests”. The MoD said that the 77th Brigade had no relationship with Twitter, other than using it for communication.
The current training regime of the soldiers is unclear. Back in 2008, an annual report by 15 (UK) Psychological Operations Group showed that there was a “robust training” going on for all incoming troops, and current ones as well.
This involved internal, as well as external trainings.”
There is something vaguely ominous about all this. The US capability to do similar things is spread all over the government; CIA, USAID, Army Psyops, USIA, etc.
This UK thing is consolidated, has a lot of social media people and academics as reservists and has the typical clubbiness of British upper class institutions. I wonder what the tie looks like.
The White Helmet film company has to be connected to this as well as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.