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Marine Corps wants to train all Marines to be “skilled in the use of social media” to discern “fact from fiction”

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The US Marine Corps is devoting time and resources to combat “disinformation” with a so-called “media literacy” campaign.

“Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication 8 – Information” spoke heavily of “media literacy” and how training could lead to recognizing a disinformation operation meant to influence troops.

Marines and civilians participate in conversations during a Social Media Misconduct Symposium at Breckenridge Auditorium, Marine Corps War College, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Mar. 30, 2017. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Dana Beesley)

The publication that was released in June cited current conflicts in the East as examples of how disinformation can be spread.

“No individual can fully know or understand the breadth of available information that amplifies cognitive shortcuts, biases, and assumptions,” the document stated. “However, media literacy instills a necessary level of critical thinking in everyday interactions with digital and traditional news and information environments. Effective training in this area reduces Marines’ vulnerabilities to malign influence and supports force resiliency through unity of effort.”

According to the Military Times, it is not known exactly who will provide this kind of training or what it will entail.

“There are the most powerful opportunities for leaders to instill in those Marines, not only lessons from the actions they’ve just taken, but really lessons in life,” deputy commandant for Information Lt. Gen. Matthew Glavy said. “Marines, in the wake of those types of hard events are really kind of in this absorb mode … the mind is open to learning.”

Others with the USMC have stressed the need to apply “fact-checking” tactics to things seen on social media.

“It’s super important that our Marines are skilled in the use of social media and discerning and discerning what is fact from fiction,” said Eric Schaner, a Marine Corps senior information and policy strategist who co-authored the document.

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