Facebook’s decision to ban 103 Pakistani pages earlier this week might have been done in order to comply with India’s new domestic legislation prohibiting “unlawful” content on social media such as the “inconvenient” information that would have presumably been shared on those pages debunking the country’s Bollywood-like lies about the latest conflict and raising awareness about India’s state-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir, but the move also suggests a broader American-influenced infowar motivation to advance the bizarre theory recently put forth by an Indian academic alleging that Russia and Pakistan are now brothers-in-arms waging Hybrid Wars across the world.
Business & Politics
All of Pakistan and the world at large is wondering what really led to Facebook’s unexpected decision to ban 103 Pakistani pages earlier this week for what the company alleged was so-called “coordinated inauthentic behavior”, with it initially appearing likely that this was done in order to suppress the information networks most critical of Indian Prime Minister Modi on their platform ahead of the onset of that country’s general elections next week. That very likely played a part in the timing behind Facebook’s decision, which wouldn’t be surprising because the tech company has a vested interest in supporting the incumbent leader in its largest market, or at least wouldn’t want to get on his bad side and therefore felt compelled to do his government a “favor” upon possible request.
It therefore might not even be that Facebook “deviously” decided to play a partisan role in this process but that it didn’t believe it had a choice if it wanted to continue expanding its presence in the country, though it obviously needed to concoct a so-called “probable cause” in order to do so, ergo the unverified claims about “coordinated inauthentic behavior”. Even so, it’s a murky business speculating about backdoor deals between Facebook and various governments, which is why it’s pertinent to raise awareness about the “legal” basis upon which India could have very likely made their request to get some of the platform’s most popular Pakistani pages taken down, and that’s the country’s recent promulgation of a controversial piece of legislation prohibiting “unlawful” content on social media.
Censoring Social Media
Reuters specifically mentioned in its report about this back in January that it includes any material that affects the “sovereignty and integrity of India”, which is vague catch-all designation that could have easily been applied to the material that those banned Pakistani pages presumably shared debunking India’s Bollywood-like lies about the latest conflict and raising awareness about its state-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir. Even something as simple as sharing the Pakistani map that includes the territory of Gilgit-Baltistan as part of Pakistan and not India like New Delhi claims it is per its maximalist approach to the Kashmir conflict could have been enough to violate that law, like I wrote at the time in my piece about how “Social Media Might Ban The Pakistani Map At India’s Behest”.
Considering that Facebook has self-interested reasons in staying on the good side of the authorities in its largest market, there’s a certain logic to why it might have banned those 103 Pakistani pages if India claimed that they broke its domestic law and might have been engaged in “coordinated inauthentic behavior” as part of an alleged perception management operation conducted by its neighbor. That would certainly be enough of a “plausible” reason for Facebook to take action against those pages and give it a “legitimate” excuse to hide behind in protecting its future profits in that market by doing New Delhi’s bidding. It’s likely that this was the case, but a further analysis needs to be conducted about the way in which most of the Mainstream Media reported on this decision.
The “Gerasimov Of South Asia”
Reuters, which usually sets the tone that most other Mainstream Media outlets follow, reported in its original piece breaking this news that Pakistan’s Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistan Armed Forces, was somehow or another supposedly connected to the 103 banned pages. They also curiously included a sentence asserting that “The military’s spokesman has often mentioned the term ‘fifth generation warfare’ during press conferences, referring to an unconventional battlefield that includes the dissemination and countering of information on social media”. This was clearly a dog whistle of innuendo implying that the ISPR was waging “fifth generation warfare” on Facebook through those pages, which in turn triggered Indian media to run with that narrative and call ISPR spokesman Asif Ghafoor the “Gerasimov of South Asia”.
That’s not incidental either, since Ghafoor and Russian General Chief of Staff are both being deliberately misportrayed as practitioners of “fifth generation warfare” despite both of them merely warning about the said tactics that their adversaries are using against them and never saying anything about their own country’s capabilities in this field or intention to “fight fire with fire” like has been falsely alleged. In fact, the false comparisons might go even further because there’s a high likelihood that Pakistan’s ISPR will be compared to Russia’s “Internet Research Agency” (IRA) as India copies a page out of the US’ infowar playbook to pin the blame for “fifth generation warfare” on its hated enemy just like America did with Russia in order to distract from its own employment of these technologies.
The Indo-American Plot Against The Russian-Pakistani Partnership
My professional prediction as a Hybrid War expert (officially recognized as such by the NATO Defense College in two papers that they published citing my 2015 book on the topic) isn’t without precedent, however, since I wrote an analysis earlier this week about how “A Leading Indian Academic Just Alleged A Far-Fetched Russian-Pakistani Plot” strangely suggesting that the two countries are brothers-in-arms waging Hybrid Wars across the world. In hindsight, that weaponized narrative actually appears to have inspired the aforementioned piece about Ghafoor being the “Gerasimov of South Asia” and therefore laid the basis for the first-ever joint Indo-American infowar against the Russian-Pakistani Strategic Partnership out of fear that the Great Power convergence of the Afro-Eurasian “balancer” and the global pivot state is a game-changing development that’s bound to geostrategically reshape the Eastern Hemisphere.
Pakistan, and not the Indian “rogue state”, is the focal point of Russia’s “Return to South Asia” because of the “balancing” benefits that Moscow expects to derive from Islamabad vis-à-vis Beijing and New Delhi, albeit for different reasons but in pursuit of the same end of stabilizing hemispheric affairs. While this is welcomed by China, it’s regarded by India and its new American patron as a threat to their grand strategic interests, which is why they’re doing everything that they can to thwart it through their combined infowar means of manufacturing fake news about a supposed Russian-Pakistani global Hybrid War plot against them both. Due to New Delhi, “Russia’s ‘Deep State’ Divisions Over South Asia Are Spilling Over Into The Public”, but it’s also clumsily making many mistakes such as when “India’s Ambassador To Russia Lied About Rejecting International Mediation”.
Reflecting on the insight that was revealed in this analysis, the case can strongly be made that Facebook banned 103 Pakistani pages based on fabricated claims by India alleging that the targets were engaged in “coordinated inauthentic behavior” as part of a “fifth generation warfare plot” and possibly in violation of the country’s recently passed legislation banning “unlawful” content such as what could have been presumed to have been shared on those pages about the latest conflict and Kashmir. Facebook, not wanting to jeopardize its growing presence in its largest market anywhere in the world, promptly complied with the request, which then created a news event that was subsequently spun by the Mainstream Media to propagate the US-influenced weaponized narrative about a Russian-Pakistani global Hybrid War conspiracy.
The US and India have clearly joined forces in a plot to thwart the Russian-Pakistani Strategic Partnership, afraid as they are about the game-changing implications that the increasingly close cooperation between the Afro-Eurasian “balancer” and the global pivot state is poised to have on the outcome of the New Cold War. The most visible manifestation of this is the coordinated infowar being waged by these two unipolar allies against their multipolar targets, which largely relies on the dramatic buzzwords of Hybrid War and “fifth generation warfare” as unmistakable dog whistles to signal to their surrogates to add on to this storyline with each subsequent article until an entirely artificial reality is constructed in the Mainstream Media which serves the purpose of justifying the US & India’s further preplanned joint measures against Russia & Pakistan.
DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.