News in the section ‘Context’ are not fakes. We publish them in order to provide you with a deeper understanding of the techniques and methods used by the Russian government in its information war.

Kremlin Distances Itself From Fake Facebook Accounts Ad Buying Revelation

By The Moscow Times The Kremlin has nothing to do with the hundreds of fake Facebook accounts that reportedly bought political ads during the U.S. presidential election, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday. “We have never heard about this. We do not know anything about, and moreover we have nothing to do with these cases,” Peskov told reporters, as quoted by the state-run TASS news agency. Facebook revealed this week that it had shut down 470 “inauthentic” Russia-based accounts that bought 3,000 social and political

Facebook declares war on Russia’s ‘troll factory’ Here’s how the numbers break down

By Meduza On September 6, Facebook announced the results of its investigation into potential efforts to use its platform to influence the results of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The company says it uncovered hundreds of fake accounts and communities managed from Russia with the help of a so-called “troll factory” that paid for promoted content over the course of two years. Facebook blocked all the groups identified in this study, but

Disinformation Review: Back to basics

By EU vs Disinfo After a summer break from reporting on disinformation we are now back in business, and so are many of the regular disinformation mouthpieces. The overwhelming majority of disinformation we have seen over the last two weeks is focused on that perennial target: Ukraine. We have seen several of the usual narratives: “Ukraine is not a state”, “Ukraine is abandoned by Europe”, “there is no Ukrainian independence”. But the most

Russia’s Infamous ‘Troll Factory’ Is Now Posing as a Media Empire

A Russian ‘troll factory’ rebranded itself as a network of legitimate news sites. But hasn’t quite abandoned its old ways. By  Alexey Kovalev, for The Moscow Times Russia’s infamous troll factory — the most successful weapon in its information war arsenal — has rebranded itself as an emerging media conglomerate, an investigation by the Russian news website RBC has revealed. The secretive troll factory, which garnered massive scrutiny from news organizations both at

It turns out that a simple hyperlink is enough to trigger Russia’s ban on ‘undesirable organizations’

By Meduza Police are investigating the analytical “Sova” Center and its director Alexander Verkhovsky for violations of Russia’s law on “undesirable organizations.” According to “Sova,” officials say it committed this misdemeanor offense by including in its website’s “About Us” section hyperlinks to the Soros Foundation and the National Endowment for Democracy (two organizations recognized by the Russian government as “undesirable”). State prosecutors told “Sova” that the hyperlinks constitute the dissemination

Facebook Blocks 470 Fake Accounts Linked to Russian ‘Troll Factory’

By The Moscow Times Facebook has blocked 470 fake accounts it claims are linked to Russia’s infamous “troll factory” that may have bought thousands of ads during the U.S. presidential campaign. “We have since shut down the accounts and pages we identified that were still active,” Facebook’s chief security officer Alex Stamos wrote in a blog post Wednesday. The social media network’s analysis indicates that the 470 fake Facebook accounts were linked to each other “and likely operated out of Russia.”

Disinfo goes nuclear in the Baltics

By  Dalia Bankauskaitė, for CEPA On 7 June, Kremlin media outlet in Russian and Belarusian reported that the Russian-Belarus Ostrovets Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), situated less than 30 km from the Lithuanian—and the European Union—border, met international safety standards set by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) after Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. On 8 June, Russian nuclear energy website also quoted the Belarus Ministry of Energy as saying that “all aspects of safety, including

On WhatsApp, Fake News is Nearly Impossible to Moderate. Is That a Bad Thing?

With the number of social media users in India rapidly rising, the dissemination of fake news has become a widespread phenomenon in recent years. So-called “information overload” has made it difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff, and in some cases, misinformation spread via social media appears to have precipitated real-life violence, sometimes with fatal consequences. In one recent incident, Twitter users in India expressed their anger when a ruling party member

Polish TV channels to be broadcast in southeastern Lithuania to offset Russian propaganda

By Baltic Times In an effort to counterbalance Russian propaganda, three Polish television channels will be made available to viewers in Lithuania’s southeastern districts with large ethnic Polish communities. Free-to-air terrestrial broadcasts of TVP Info, Kino Polska International and Kino Polska Muzyka International are planned to begin in the districts of Vilnius, Salcininkai and Svencionys next February. The Lithuanian Transport and Communications Ministry last Friday published the technical specifications for

Russian education officials in Krasnodar mandate weekly ‘information sessions’ where students will discuss ‘glory to Russia’ and other news

By Meduza Russian education officials in the Krasnodar region have required all schools this year to conduct weekly “five-minute information sessions,” where students are expected to discuss current events, an Education Ministry spokesperson told the website Yugopolis. The “information sessions” are required for all students, from first to 11th grade, and fall into the following themes: “Glory to Russia,” “The Story Says,” “News of the Week,” and “We Live in

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