5th Generation Warfare – All of us have heard this phrase, some of us disregard it as another hoax to fool the common man, while others think of it as promiscuous jargon.
What exactly is 5th generation warfare? With the advent of the internet, information is now being weaponized to create and further conflict and instability. The narrative and influence can be built by commercial media companies and this war is no longer fought by the traditional army. Social media has given a new meaning to global communication and manipulation. The concept of seeding virality has been well named.
This warfare is now being fought in all the countries by various vested interests. The seeds of narrative are slowly sown and then over time buyers of narratives are built. Once there is a group of the buyer then the narrative is pushed through various platforms and creative content.
Sowing seeds of hatred?
Recently, a study came across by view lyrics wherein they analyzed some anti-state trends such as #endofpakproxywarinafg or #sanctionpakistan.
If one closely monitors these trends, one could see there are only a certain hundred accounts that are pushing some focused words or sentences to build hatred against the state. These handles make sure that the tweets are tagged with bigger and famous handles and then the tweet is retweeted by such accounts to build virality.
Similarly, certain YouTube channels have posted hundreds of videos against Pakistan on the Afghan conflict drumming the narrative against the Pak Army. These channels have millions of followers and the posted videos with the seeded message have been viewed by millions of people.
These YouTube based channels though run by Indians but made to look like international news outlets, working overtime to malign Pakistan’s image and create negative public sentiment within and outside Pakistan. This in turn allows the Indian lobby to pressure various governments to sanction Pakistan.
The trending topic
Top trending #sanctionPakistan was initiated on 30th June through fake account identities which were either dormant or newly created for this specific trending. Viewlytics report clearly defined all the accounts. On August 9th the trend was given a coordinated push and more than 200k tweets, retweets and replies were generated in 24 hours. The coordinated trending could be seen by timestamps of tweets from these fake accounts.
The trend whereby it is alleged that Pakistan is supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan must be counted with the narrative that Afghanis refuse to fight for dummy Government in Kabul. Unfortunately, we are unable to show the world the unpopularity of the Kabul Government to the world.
The visually sensitive footage is in play to flare up emotions and build the narrative which the enemy wants. There is constant negative reporting on CPEC and the way the Afghan envoy daughter episode was scandalized is a masterclass.
Expanding the counter-narrative approach
The challenge Pakistan is facing is that most of the time, we are in reactive mode. Pakistan neither has the force to build in its narrative within Indian territory nor has authentic fake channel reporting capacity. Not only, far more content needs to be churned but also the quality of content needs to be at par with the enemy. Content in English needs to be churned to address the international audience. The need of the hour is to engage youth and media specialists in the areas of content development, analytics and media.
Read more: Sub-continent’s 5th Generation Warfare
There should be a proper unit that should monitor, analyze and then be able to disseminate the counter-narrative effectively. It’s time to bring educated, young professionals into the system to build the counter-narratives and tell the world about your side of the story. The qualified, trained and media savvy are must win the 5th generation war.
Moied Javeed is a senior telecom executive in Pakistan and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.