Israeli Military Live Tweets War: A Captive Audience For Real-Time Propaganda

[tweet https://twitter.com/IDFSpokesperson/status/268722403989925888 align=’center’]

The Israeli Defense Force announced a coordinated military offensive on Gaza militants via Twitter, marking perhaps the first time war has been announced in under 140 characters. The Twitter stream of @IDFSpokesperson has been a rolling update of aggressively congratulatory tweets of the on-going strikes.

[tweet https://twitter.com/IDFSpokesperson/status/268795866784075776 align=’center’]

The strategy is a transparent attempt at controlling the conversation with a one-sided perspective (a.k.a propaganda). Rather than have media outlets report the story through embedded journalists and trusted sources, all of the early information is streaming directly from IDF’s (admittedly biased) information feed. Nuggets of propaganda are skillfully sandwiched in between key military strikes:

[tweet https://twitter.com/IDFSpokesperson/status/268776912632045568 align=’center’]

For now, the strategy appears to be working. Why follow a news outlet when you can simply refresh Twitter? The real test is whether local newspapers will backlash against a strategy that skirts them.