Sunday, October 08, 2006

Pentagon in Myspace spreading propaganda

Social networking websites are just the latest place the military is trying to catch the attention of the next crop of potential recruits.

MySpace has become a magnet for those that want, for one reason or another, to draw the attention of young people. Colleges, products, movies, and fast-food are just some.
Early this August, the site hit over 100 million profiles. "Even including those corporate-sponsored sites and fictional pages, that's still a whole lot of would-be friends." So it's nt a mystery why, with 80% of MySpace users reporting they're over 18 years old, the military has expanded to Myspace in the search for fresh-faced recruits who might be thrown into the Afghan and Iraqi breaches.

In February 2006, the Marine Corps launched its MySpace profile. A thoroughly predictable page, it boasts a streaming video that might best be termed boot-camp-on-speed -- complete with clips of a stereotypical drill instructor barking out commands and a bullet-cam speeding toward a target on the rifle range. The site even offers downloadable desktop wallpapers, mainly Marine Corps "anchor and globe" emblems or photos of World War II vintage Marines. Conspicuously, there isn't a modern image in sight in any way evocative of the war in Iraq (deployment pressure from which recently caused the Corps to announce that it would force reservists to return involuntarily to duty due to a lack of volunteers).

In early November, the Army has scheduled to launch a profile, according to Louise W. Eaton, the service's advertising media and web chief. MySpace proved impossible to contact on their work with the military, refusing to respond to multiple messages.

The militarization of MySpace is just the latest Pentagon effort to occupy a new realm that will put the military product in front of ever more young eyes. The role of "friendly", taking a desperate military's money to target their hordes of young friends searching for popularity online, is troubling. Full article via AlterNet

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