The impact of social media open source intelligence networks on military and public opinion in the Russia-Ukraine conflict

In the age of social media, open source intelligence occupies most of the position in intelligence analysis. According to the "Wall Street Journal" report, the US Defense Intelligence Agency said that information from unclassified sources currently drives at least 80% of intelligence reports. During the Russia-Ukraine conflict, open-source intelligence on social media played an important role in tracking military infrastructure, assessing military equipment damage and casualties, and exposing misinformation. Social media open source intelligence contains huge potential value, which has attracted great attention from the United States, Britain and other countries. According to the "Wall Street Journal" report, a group of former US national security officials initiated the establishment of an open source intelligence professional association - The OSINT Foundation in July 2022. It aims to promote the transactionalization and discipline of open source intelligence, and develop the community of practitioners to ensure the national security of the United States.

At the same time, social media open source intelligence is used as an important source of information to construct public opinion discourse. This is manifested in the intelligence content related to the Russia-Ukraine conflict being recognized and quoted by the media of overseas organizations, and "celebrity" users of social media are also frequently shared and disseminated.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict is a modernized war in the age of social media. "Information warfare" has spawned a group of "open-source intelligence analysts" who are mainly civilians. They widely disseminate front-line information on the war and provide military analysis reports on social platforms, promoting the popularization of open-source intelligence research. During the Russia-Ukraine conflict, military bloggers used their information and technological advantages to build a social media open source intelligence network to promote the sharing, collection and analysis of open source intelligence. This has eliminated the "fog of war" to a certain extent, and on the other hand, it has also become an important source of information for constructing public opinion discourse.

In the trend of civilianization and popularization of open source intelligence, some intelligence content may be inaccurate or even completely false. In the name of open-source intelligence, these misinformation spread on a large scale through the network of relationships, polluting the environment of public opinion on social media. Social media open source intelligence may be completely reduced to a tool for "information warfare" and "public opinion warfare".