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Heard on Fox

Ukraine showdown starts social media war

 

Call it the “Twitter Cold War.”

The fierce international standoff between the U.S. and Russia has spilled over onto social media. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has taunted Western leaders like President Obama on Twitter since sanctions were announced against Moscow. American officials, like Senator John McCain, are blasting right back at them.

Fox News National Security Analyst KT McFarland spoke to Jeff Bardin about the war of words on social media. Bardin is the chief intelligence officer with Treadstone 71, a cyber-intelligence and counterintelligence company.

“Russians are trying to execute a low level, psychological operations campaign using social media -- and in this case it’s Twitter,” Bardin said.

He sees Moscow’s tactics as a new-age version of subversive actions taken during the Cold War.

“You wouldn’t expect world leaders to act in some of the ways they have,” Bardin said of the tweets. “I don’t think Putin understands public relations.”

By using social media, Putin is “trying to brag [about] what he’s done and make the Russian people know how strong he is in a very simplistic manner,” Bardin said. “They will stifle free speech but when they have the opportunity to project their own agenda through a medium like Twitter they’ll do it.”

Bardin, a former Air Force intelligence officer, suggests we’ll see Moscow increasingly use social media to get its message to a global audience.