And they don't even know if it worked.

For most people, the creativity associated with meme's is spontaneous, cathartic - it usually mocks or satirises political and popular culture.

When US military officials at the Pentagon tried their hand at a shitposting meme, it took them 22 days.

Undaunted by days of back and forth between different departments and exchanges with the graphic designers, the US Department of Defense finally published a meme that they thought would be funny, attention-grabbing and in time for Halloween. 

In one email by the "graphic team extraordinaire", the meme concept is laid out in the kind of excruciating detail that only a government department attempting to be funny can.

"Graphic concept: Cartoon bear in soviet uniform costume holding a Halloween candy basket with malware names ( ComRAT, I I Drovorub, WellMess, X-Agent, X-Tunnel, Lojax) on candy bars," one of the messages said.

And if that concept didn't grab the imagination, there was a backup.

"Image of same bear in soviet uniform costume holding Halloween candy basket, now tripping with "treats" (malware names) spilling out of candy basket."

It's unclear if the cyber-warriors working on the memes themselves found what they were producing funny. References to the Soviet Union were another strange addition given that it collapsed in 1991.

The post ultimately garnered less than 200 retweets and around 400 likes.

The information only came to light after the journalist and advisor for Norway's Armed Force Cyber Defense, Runa Sandvik, filed a Freedom of Information request to get a hold of the 23-page document.

According to the exchange of emails, America's cyber warriors believe that their meme's "are used and included to increase engagement and resonate within the Cybersecurity industry" and also as a means "to message adversaries."

And like in most offices, when the Pentagon's attempt at "trolling of adversaries" was picked up in an article "How the Pentagon is trolling Russian, Chinese hackers with cartoons," it was immediately flagged for recognition by subordinates to superiors.

By flagging the malware purportedly used by Russian hackers, the officers in the Pentagon argued that they are imposing "costs on adversaries by disclosing their malware, to cut off their access and reinforce defences."

It's unclear what cost, if at all, a cuddly bumbling bear carrying a carved pumpkin would cost Russian hackers.

One security analyst put it even more bluntly about what the Russians may think, "You're definitely not going to influence the bad guys. They don't care. 'You named and shamed us? Ok, we're gonna grab a shot of vodka and go back to work.'"

In 2020 on Valentines Day, the same account produced a meme outing North Korea for using malware which enabled the regime to conduct illegal activities, "steal funds & evade sanctions."

That meme had around 140 retweets, but again it's unclear how the meme would have shaped the North Korean regime's behaviour.

It's been several months since the Pentagon linked account has tweeted any memes, and perhaps that’s for the best.

Source: TRT World