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PROOF: Governments manipulate online polls to sway public opinion

Britain’s top spy agency has developed a suite of software programs it uses to manipulate Internet traffic, infiltrate users’ computers and spread preselected messages across social media sites that include Facebook and YouTube, according to recently published reports.

ZDNet said that the technology used by the agency, GCHQ, was revealed in documents first published by The Intercept. Each piece of software is further described in a Wiki document written by the spy agency’s Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group, or JTRIG. The document reads like a software inventory list and it ominously calls the tools part of the agency’s “weaponised capability.”

As noted by investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept:

The capabilities, detailed in documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, even include an old standby for pre-adolescent prank callers everywhere: A way to connect two unsuspecting phone users together in a call.

List of software tools for comprehensive Internet monitoring and manipulation

Some of the more interesting capabilities of the software tools listed include the ability to “seed the web with false information” ZDNet reported, “such as tweaking the results of online polls — inflating pageview counts, censoring video content deemed ‘extremist’ and the use of psychological manipulation on targets,” the latter of which is similar to a research project conducted recently with Facebook’s approval — research that elicited plenty of criticism and outrage directed at the social media site.

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