In short, researchers found that large populations of social media consumers can likely be controlled by using mathematical principles, Ars Technica reported. Mr. Dixon and his fellow believe that a sound mathematical formula would allow an entity like the Department of Defense to influence behavior toward a desired result.
“There’s a group of leaders, each of which has their own objectives, and they have their own topic of emphasis,” Mr. Dixon told the website of his previous work. “The is to have those people change the opinion or coerce the group of followers — people [who are] in the social group of these people but don’t know the high level objective.”
Mr. Dixon essentially said smaller groups of influential individuals can be used to sway much larger populations, and social media can be manipulated to leverage their influence even further.
Unlike , which recently had to publicly apologize for real-world tests it did in conjunction with Cornell University, Mr. Dixon’s team only ran simulations, Ars Technica reported. Facebook and its researchers manipulated the data streams of its users, something the Pentagon did not do. (Read more.)
Via Terry Nelson.