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US military to use AI to stop ‘disinformation threats’ on social media

The Army's artificial intelligence software prototype designed to quickly identify threats through a range of battlefield data and satellite imagery. (Photo Screenshot image/US Army)
September 05, 2023

U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) recently awarded a new contract to Accrete AI to use artificial intelligence software to detect “disinformation threats” on social media.

According to a press release by Accrete, the new contract will allow USSOCOM special operators and intelligence analysts to predict “disinformation threats” on social media in “real time.”

“Synthetic media, including AI-generated viral narratives, deep fakes, and other harmful social media-based applications of AI, pose a serious threat to U.S national security and civil society,” Prashant Bhuyan, founder and CEO of Accrete, said.

Accrete’s CEO noted that social media is perceived as an “unregulated environment” that allows U.S. adversaries to “routinely exploit reasoning vulnerabilities and manipulate behavior” by sharing disinformation online.

“USSOCOM is at the tip of the spear in recognizing the critical need to identify and analytically predict social media narratives at an embryonic stage before those narratives evolve and gain traction,” Bhuyan added. “Accrete is proud to support USSOCOM’s mission.”

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Accrete is planning to launch Nebula Social, a business version of Argus Social, that is expected to help businesses navigate disinformation threats through a detection system that is similar to what the U.S. military has contracted with Accrete to use. The company, founded in 2017, touts Nebula Social as a program that will address issues such as “deep fakes” and “viral disinformation.”

“Government agencies and enterprises alike have an urgent need to manage a plethora of risks and opportunities posed by AI-generated synthetic media,” Bhuyan stated. “Companies are already experiencing significant economic damage caused by the spread of AI-generated viral disinformation and deep fakes manufactured by competitors, disgruntled employees, and other types of adversaries. We believe that the market for AI that can predict and neutralize malign AI-generated synthetic media is about to explode.”

The recent announcement of the government’s contract with Accrete to monitor “disinformation” on social media has been met with backlash from some Americans.

“Remember when the #USMilitary trained to win wars against America’s enemies, not surveil her citizens?” one social media user asked. “Not so much any more [sic].”

Another social media user commented on X, formerly Twitter, that the government’s contract with Accrete is “one step closer” to Americans saying “goodbye” to the rights listed under the 1st Amendment.

“Why is the government hiring a firm to censor speech?” a third social media user asked. “Hitler would be proud of this.”

In 2022, the U.S. Department of Defense contracted with Accrete for the deployment of the company’s AI software that features open-source threat detection.