Single, Armed & Online: Tinder joins the Online Info Ops Arsenal

From cyber warfare to social warfare and beyond: Tinder makes an appearance as a conduit for Info Ops.

In what can only be described as one of those moments, when scrolling through a photo feed on Twitter,  you do a double take – only to realize what you’re looking at and have an ‘a-ha’ moment: today I found an example of Info Ops using  Tinder.

Yes, that right – Tinder: the free smartphone app that proclaims it is “how people meet. It’s like real life but better” and that is used actively by a rumoured 10 million people daily.

 

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***Screenshots credit to @EliClifton of The Nation.

The screenshots – part of an article entitled ‘Is an Israeli Official Spreading Propaganda on Tinder?’ from the United State’s weekly magazine The Nation poses a series of questions about the profile’s authenticity and motives.

From an Info Ops perspective, the foray of military influence activity into the realms of online dating is new.

Whether this is an official Israeli Defence Force (IDF) sanctioned activity or not – the cross over from cyber to social warfare and into the realms of online dating is both peculiar and savvy. Perhaps it’s not your first weapon of choice in your Info Ops tactical plan, but then what other online mechanism gives you free information promulgation in such a targeted way?

  • – The genderless status of the profile means it will come up on both male and female searches
  • – The age given – 34 (remembering that a Facebook profile needs to be active to extrapolate this information) hits the Israeli diaspora demographic succinctly, covering a broad base of age groups
  • – Both of the above data sets will hit a wide range of individuals – from various socio-demographic backgrounds, ethnicities and religious denominations; and
  • – As the App is inherently geo-located (that is you have to be within X km or mi to see the profile) the ability to reach into precise population targets (think Washington DC, London, Brussels… etc) via multiple profiles is exceedingly clever.

And all this, for the time it takes to set up a fake Facebook account and create a Tinder profile.

I’d be interested in seeing the analytical data on the profile’s matches vs views vs bounce rates. Even when a user swipes left (passes on the profile) an Info Ops touch-point has occurred; making this foray (official or unofficial) into a new digital medium another sign that the definitions of both warfare and full spectrum militarized dominance is rapidly evolving on par with technology.

If you can reach large target audiences with new App based technologies; someone is already devising a way to weaponize it.

Using Tinder for Info Ops: the only question that remains is whether to swipe left or swipe right …

~ Nicole Matejic