Cyber operations are becoming more and more important in Information Operations and 4th generation warfare in general. The old style “Hearts and Minds” concept is still in play but the idea of dropping leaflets in to an area in play has gone the way of the rotary dial phone.
Cyber space is where the new battle for your heart and mind is. We saw the role social media played out in the Bunkerville and Mahler Wildlife refuge incidents. Nevertheless, there is another more insidious PSYOP tactic out there.
Soon after the BRITXIT vote, a petition to have a revote garnered millions of signatures and Twitter lit up, likewise, with millions of anti-BRITXIT comments (see article above). It appears that many of these instances were generated by bots posing as real people with the ultimate goal to influence public opinion. By artificially inflating the popularity of a certain opinion, the Information Operators hope to leverage the Asch Conformity Effect to manipulate the herd instinct to their manufactured point of view.
Keep this in mind whenever you see a poll, Facebook comments, online comments and other artificial means of self-expression. The battle for your mind and opinion is very much real and the stakes have never been higher.
Make damn well sure that your opinion is actually your own and not one created by a clever propagandaist sitting in a computer center located somewhere in the filthy bowels of cyber space.