The US Steps Up its Social Media Propaganda Game

By Darren Orf on at

War on social media? Reality shows on Mars? A Facebook for your face? All this and more in BitStream, your digest of all the best news tidbits and rumours of the last 24 hours.

The Pentagon Gets a Glorified Social Media Editor

The battle against the so-called Islamic State (or ISIS....or ISIL) is making nations rethink how to approach social media as a weapon of war. Early this month, Britain announced its plans to form a battalion of "Facebook Warriors" in effort to battle ISIS's adept skills of recruiting through the platform, and also Twitter, YouTube, and other websites.

Now, the US is doing the same. According to The New York Times, the plan is to greatly expand the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Measures to bring in all the efforts by the Pentagon and Homeland Security under one roof. But it's not just the US message, the improved group will also amplify ally messages and Muslim scholars who oppose ISIS.

So pretty much a glorified social media editor, right? Can't be that hard. Yeah, not exactly. The Islamic State reportedly tweets and posts through various social media 90,000 times a day, so the job is a pretty big one and the US admits they're getting beat by just sheer volume. Hopefully aggregating content that already exists will help turn the social media tide.

Mars One Picks 100 Candidates for One-Way (Suicide) Mission to Mars

When Mars One announced its ambitious plan to put humans on Mars by 2024, the non-profit received 20,000 submissions. Since then, the selection has been slowly whittled down over time. Now only 50 men and 50 women remain.

This is pretty exciting for the people chosen, but there's only one problem—this mission will most likely kill them. And I don't mean kill them in "well, it's one-way trip so of course they'll die on Mars." No. I mean that the mission parameters, as designed, will probably starve them to death.

Sometimes, I can't help but admire Mars One's gung-ho attitude about furthering human space exploration. But with rumours that the trip may be funded by turning life on Mars into a reality show, that may be setting the stage for the most horrific and depressing reality show of all time. Either way, good luck to the lucky(?) 100. [NBC News]

Rumourtown

  • Qualcomm just lost the S6 as a major vendor for its most powerful chip, and now LG may be following suit. [TrustedReviews]
  • The Galaxy S6 is rumoured to have the best everything, so it makes sense that it would have the best wireless charging too. [CNET]

Your Apps, Updated

  • Dropbox brings a user-friendly update to iOS 8 — Extensions. Because actually opening apps is so outdated. [9to5Mac]
  • Like Microsoft Office but it's not jibing with your iCloud account? Worry no more. [Office Blog]
  • TweetDeck Teams lets you share accounts without needing passwords, which honestly sounds like a recipe for disaster. [TweetDeck]
  • Facebook is now making a Facebook that's actually for your face. [The Verge]
  • Pushbullet just added Hangouts and WhatsApp notifications. Seriously. Download this app now. [Pushbullet]

De(vices)

  • Microsoft is planning a huge app push with the Xbox One, offering up the SDK in the summer. Good. Only two years late. [The Verge]
  • Galaxy Note 4 has a VR headset, and so does the LG G3. A new patent suggests that Apple may be getting jealous. [TechCrunch]
  • Raspberry Pi has sold over 5 million units but still has a long way to catch up on actual raspberry pies. [Raspberry Pi]

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