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aws试用账号(\u0027Information combat\u0027: Inside the fight for Myanmar\u0027s soul



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SINGAPORE - As Myanmar's military seeks to put down protest on the streets, a parallel battle is playing out on social media, with the junta using fake accounts to denounce opponents and press its message that it seized power to save the nation from election fraud, eight people with knowledge of the tactics said.

The army, which was banned by the country's dominant online platform Facebook after the Feb. 1 coup, has tasked thousands of soldiers with conducting what is widely referred to in the military as "information combat", according to the people, who include four military sources.

The mission of the social media drive, part of the military's broader propaganda operations, is to spread the junta's view among the population, as well as to monitor dissenters and attack them online as traitors, the people told Reuters.

"Soldiers are asked to create several fake accounts and are given content segments and talking points that they have to post," said Captain Nyi Thuta, who defected from the army to join rebel forces at the end of February. "They also monitor activity online and join (anti-coup) online groups to track them." 

The 31-year-old said he was part of the army's propaganda operations until his defection, writing speeches for military chief Min Aung Hlaing.

A spokesperson for the military government did not respond to repeated requests for comment on its social media tactics. In September, a junta spokesperson on army-owned Myawaddy TV accused media groups and opposition activists of spreading "fake news" about the situation in Myanmar.

The eight people with knowledge of the social media drive all asked to remain anonymous, citing fears of retaliation, with the exception of Nyi Thuta and Captain Lin Htet Aung, who defected from the army in April.

The military, known as the Tatmadaw, is pushing its campaign online even as it puts down protests on the streets, nine months after it ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, saying her National League for Democracy had fraudulently won the November 2020 vote. International election watchdogs said in a May report that the vote was fair.

A Reuters review of thousands of social media posts in 2021 found that about 200 military personnel, using their personal accounts on platforms including Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter and Telegram, regularly posted messages or videos alleging fraud at the election and denouncing anti-coup protesters as traitors.

In over 100 cases, the messages or videos were duplicated across dozens of copycat accounts within minutes, as well as on online groups, purported fan channels for Myanmar celebrities and sports teams and purported news outlets, data from Facebook-owned online tracking tool Crowdtangle showed. 


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