Meet The 26-Year-Old Running Israel's Social Media War

Sacha Dratwa enjoys some very normal things: macchiatos, swimming, vodka, hanging out with friends. You can see it right on his Facebook profile. But unlike most Facebook folks, this guy runs Israel's internet war machine.

Tablet brings us the story of Dratwa, who came to Israel from Belgium. At only 26 years old, " the IDF's YouTube and Facebook presence and turned it into the most globally visible arm of the Israeli military." No small feat.

You've got to hand it to the guy; as far as 21st century web psych-ops goes, the man is definitely onto something. Tweeting YouTube assassination videos is next-level stuff. And as a relatively young fella, Dratwa gets it: "We believe people understand the language of Facebook, the language of Twitter," he tells Tablet. Ergo, the Israeli military is using the exact same tools to win you over as, say, Pepsi, or Boo the Dog.

The difference is that Dratwa, who commands a team of social media soldiers fighting to sway public opinion on a controversial war one tweet, Flickr upload and YouTube share at a time, has an almost entirely public Facebook profile. You can't say the same for most military brass in a wartime superpower. He's just a guy — albeit a guy running the IDF's highly sophisticated online component of an IRL war — but a guy nonetheless. A guy who does guy stuff.

Interestingly, he's only been on Facebook since 2009 — a late adopter! But he's been busy since then:

Picking ruggedly handsome profile pictures.

Hitting the slopes!

Uploading holiday shots.

Boozin' with bros.

Commanding a cyber propaganda squad.

Looking at all this, you probably wouldn't guess that he's running a historically unprecedented internet battle for hearts and minds. Mostly, it's a show of humanity, like any other Facebook profile. It's transparent. It's mundane. And it's probable that wars of the future, large and small, will be accompanied by something like Israel's Twitter blitz, run by more dudes in their mid-20s who like Smirnoff and swimming. [Facebook via Tablet]


Comments

    Meet the Palestinian guy running their social media campaign. You just need a shovel to move a pile of rubble.

    "Tweeting YouTube assassination videos is next-level stuff" Boy do you guys have a low bar for what you regard as innovation.

    Could you possibly gush any more, Sam? "[T]he IDF’s highly sophisticated online component", you've got to be joking. There is nothing even remotely sophisticated about posting videos on Youtube or messages on Facebook and Twitter. As for "winning me over", I think the childish bragging and nonsense coming out of the IDF's propaganda department has pushed me even more in favour of the Palestinian side.

      Ahh, it's called blatantly obvious sarcasm.

    Since the Vietnam War countries have controlled the access of media to the armed forces and allowing them into armed conflict. Armies now hire their own photographers and videographers to show only what the army wants the public to see. Otherwise we would never go to war or it wouldn't last very long and the war machine would not get fed. Therefore it makes sense that armies would have their own social media campaign team.

    Showing assassinations for its intended Israeli audience is not innovatory. It’s just that the rest of the world gets to see it because social media is not contained to Israel. The fact that they laud about killing people speaks of their campaign to make the Israeli people believe all Palestinians are less than human and this is only enhanced by their social media team.

    So Gaza is held locked in by Israel, they can’t get their hands on water reliably yet they can smuggle rockets in? Dirty, sneaky, terrorists.

      Rockets seem to be only available during Israeli elections. Fancy that.

    Why is this dude being glorified?
    The whole thing is a disgrace.

      Some may say this dude is being glorified. But I think his soul is blackened forever by his promotion of this disproportionate assault on a captive population.

      I'd rather know who he is than not know. Thanks for the article.

        Better the devil you know. Who knows, many years from now Palestinian agents will be hunting down Jewish war criminals hiding out on Facebook.

    .....So, basically he's the Israeli Facebook version of Joseph Goebbels ?

    How...admirable.

    I'll just leave this here.

    http://i.imgur.com/13ffN.jpg

    another bullshit article brought to you by the idiot Sam Biddle!

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