Pages with tag Fake News

Clinton Watts' in-depth explanation of Russia's social media warfare strategy Last week Security Analyst Clint Watts' explosive testimony in the Senate Intelligence Committee exposed an information warfare system created by the Russian Intelligence services. The strategy includes fake news websites, and fake social media accounts, that worked synergistically together to sow doubt and confusion. They are targeting both individuals and the population at large. A key thing is prior to the Internet, for a country to conduct direct actions in another country required that country to station staff in the target country, and set up organizations like newspapers. With the Internet, they (e.g. the Russians) can stay in their own country, their staff doesn't have to risk traveling to the target country, because it can all be done remotely. In other words, while social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc) have arguably enriched our lives, it's possible to build amazing propaganda systems on those networks.
Facebook was used by 'governments' to spread propaganda, says Facebook report A new report issued by Facebook outlines what they know about propaganda spread by 'Governments' through its website. As Facebook notes, the Internet and sites like Facebook give a whole new realm of possibilities for 'information operations'. Information operations are the are spread by 'organized actors' (governments) to distort political sentiment by distorting the truth. Governments have used such strategies for millennia, but of course the global reach of the Internet changes the game. It's clear now that the 2016 US elections were heavily influenced by a stream of fake news, a large part of which was directed by Russia's intelligence services. Indications are that Russia is now focusing on other elections, including in France where an extreme hard-liner who wants to remove France from the EU and NATO could well be elected. Russia's geopolitical needs would be well served if the EU and NATO were weakened. If government-led information operations really are being conducted over social media networks, shouldn't we call it 'Social Media Warfare'?
Google's search algorithm enables fake news from Russia or elsewhere to manipulate reality

If you control what the population believes is true, you can control what that population does. Propagandists have known this for generations. The rise of Nazi Germany was due to "weaponized" misinformation. The Nazi Party owned newspapers that churned out fake news, the Party pushed all kinds of lies including Racial Lies, and ruthlessly squashed any dissenters. In the current time period we're being told that Russia has weaponized a system of social media accounts, websites pushing fake news, and on and on, for the purpose of manipulating elections around the world, and weakening international organizations like the EU and NATO.

I believe that Russia is doing that kind of thing, because Russia has for ages pushed Propaganda. The Russian newspaper "Pravda" (the word Pravda means Truth) famously was full of lies every day. Pravda is still in exactly that business, and other news outlets owned by the Russian Government, like Sputnik News and RT News, also push a highly slanted view of the world (everything Russia does is enlightened, everything the West does is clueless and harmful). Russia's motive? To get NATO off its back without fighting an open war. An information war is the ticket, but the casualty is the sense of Truth we all need.

By determining the scope of information we get as answers to questions, search engines have a lot of power to shape what the population believes.

The game that's on is about controlling what the population believes is the Truth. Governments do it to push policy goals, businesses do it to earn more money, activists might do it to push their cause, and so on.

Russia isn't the only participant in spewing fake news into the world. We're being told The Russians are doing it, and they almost certainly are. But that idea is being pushed to the exclusion of others who are using similar mechanisms. What's the goal being served by pushing "The Russians are doing it" while failing to recognize the techniques are used across governments and industries?

Russia has released The Kraken on the Internet - The Young Turks A 'troll farm' or 'troll factory' was disclosed by BuzzFeed journalists, documenting a fake news trolling operation run by the Russian Government in St. Petersburg. Plans for the facility were leaked to Western press by a secretive Russian hacker collective, but are understandably difficult to verify. It is easy to find comments on blogs, tweets, facebook postings, etc that are curiously pro-Russia. Often the languaging is strange as if the writer understands very little English.
Russia's Online Troll Army -- WGBH The Internet can be described as a gushing sewer of questionable information. It's bad enough that people honestly think up crazy things to say. In some cases governments hire people to purposely skew the conversation by putting in fake information, especially in comments. Maybe 'nobody' reads the comments section any more, but sometimes the comment section of a news website can host heated debates, and be a prime zone for spreading disinformation.
Russia's Propaganda Machine -- Vice News The Kremlin needs to rationalize the efforts to topple Ukraine's government. To do so, it's creating the impression Russians inside Ukraine are being slaughtered by the Ukraine government, and that the slaughter could move to Russia. In other words, fake news. In part it's a 'Cult of Personality' aiming to build up Vladimir Putin as a model for Russia. In part it's defaming the West as clueless and incompetent.
Russian think tank planned to influence the U.S. election, new documents reveal A Russian government-controlled think tank had outlined plans on how to swing the 2016 U.S. election toward Donald Trump, according to a Reuters report Thursday. New documents reveal a strategy of using social media to bolster Mr. Trump and undermine faith in America’s electoral system. William Brangham learns more from former CIA officer John Sipher and Ned Parker of Reuters. The Reuters report concerns two 'confidential' documents from the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, which was part of the successor to the KGB. These documents provide the framework and rationale for Russia's efforts to influence the 2016 US elections.
Russia’s disinformation campaign in Europe The Russian government has invested immense resources into media networks in Europe. The Russian state-media complex has established news and media outlets in the local languages of many European countries through which the Kremlin attempts to influence European discourse and public opinion on the Ukraine crisis. How does the Russian state-media complex use social media, political partnerships, and financial incentives to influence European media outlets? How successful is the media campaign launched by the Russian government? Where are the next targets of the Russian disinformation campaign? How could and should the EU respond?
Security Analyst Clinton Watts study of Russian social media fake news streams In July 2016, immediately following the Attempted Coup in Turkey, fake news appeared on RT News and Sputnik News, both known as Russian Propaganda outlets, claiming that a US Military Base in Turkey had been overrun threatening the security of the large nuclear weapons cache stored at that base. Within a few minutes a whole flotilla of bot accounts on social media systems (Twitter, et al) were echoing the news release. This and other details were the subject of testimony in the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing of March 30, 2017. Clinton Watts was one of those giving testimony, giving us a clue to how social media technology is being currently utilized. The big question is whether Russia's goal ended with Trumps becoming President, or whether they're continuing to meddle in US and European politics. This is a technology story because of the means, that Russia is using channels on the Internet to conduct this warfare.
Senate Select Intelligence Committee hearing on Russia's hacking of 2016 elections In the 2016 elections, it's now clear that Russia's President Vladimir Putin ordered a disinformation campaign aimed to subvert American Democracy and the campaign. They had a clearly preferred winner, Donald Trump, and utilized fake news and networks of social media bots to spread propaganda. The goal appears to be weakening Russia's major adversaries, especially the USA and NATO, so that Russia can act more freely in the world. The method, covert propaganda issued through social media, is a lot less expensive than a fighting war, and less risky since a direct battle between USA and Russia might bring in nuclear weapons. These hearings, conducted by the Senate Intelligence Committee, are very different from the outright circus occurring in the House Intelligence Committee. The discussion focuses on the threat posed by Russia's use of 'active measures', active propaganda usage, and has experts describing the tools and strategies employed by the Russians. Further, the experts describe how the Trump Administration is complicit with Russia, speaking Russia-sourced talking points, and apparently collaborating with Russia.
The Russian Troll Factory in St. Petersburg The 'Internet Research Agency' is a Russian-intelligence-connected operation for constructing fake news. It is said the purpose is to affect internal dissent inside Russia. The facility is located in St. Petersburg, in a four-story building where hundreds of people work. An 'activist' managed to be hired to work in the Troll Factory, and talks about its operation. Every operative receives instructions via their computer as to the message to push, and they're to go about posting information on social media networks related to those instructions.
Trolling for Putin: Russia's information war explained - Agence France Presse Lyudmila Savchuk says it was money that wooed her into the ranks of the Kremlin's online army, where she bombarded website comment pages with eulogies of President Vladimir Putin, while mocking his adversaries. After two months she quit the so-called 'troll factory' outside St. Petersburg, after having documented its operation. Now she is showing journalists how the troll factory works.
Why are Russian trolls spreading online hoaxes in the U.S.? Russia's Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg Russia hires hundreds of people to post fake-news comments on websites, and to post fake news websites. The result is to amplify fake news and subvert the truth. The purpose in this report is to 'pollute' the Internet so that Russians cannot trust what they read on the Internet, and thereby stifle home-grown Russian activism.
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