Context

Stories in the ‘Context” section are not fakes. We publish them in order to provide greater insight for our readers about the techniques, methods and practices used by the Russian government in its information war.

‘Fake news’ is in the eye of the beholder: China is centralizing efforts to stop online ‘rumors’

By Oiwan Lam, for Global Voices A new state-run platform is now centralizing efforts to stop online “rumors” in China. This is a significant step for China, where any piece of information that does not come from official government channels can be considered a rumor. Since 2012, Chinese authorities have undertaken a series of measures and campaigns to control online speech. Major social media platforms have been forced to implement community rules and reporting

Russian trolls exiled from Guardian find home for their hate

By Sarah Hurst (@XSovietNews), for StopFake Among the various English-language promoters of Russian propaganda, a website called OffGuardian drew attention to itself recently by praising a visit to occupied Crimea by Symphonic Brass Wales. OffGuardian tweeted the headline to its anonymous article, “The Welsh Orchestra Defying the Ukrainian Coup Regime” (apparently not conceived by a native English speaker), and Symphonic Brass Wales retweeted it, before apparently undoing the retweet after

Lavrov: West is blocking chemical weapons inspections in Syria — Not True

By Polygraph Sergei Lavrov Russian Foreign Minister Commenting on the chemical attack that allegedly took place on Syrian territory, Lavrov noted that ‘such situations have happened in the past — 2016, Khan-Sheikhoun, 2017, East Ghouta.’ As the minister recalled, in the first case Russia insisted on an OPCW inspection, but ‘Western colleagues blocked the inspectors’ way’.” Source: TV Zvezda FALSE It is Russia and the Syrian regime who block OPCW

Is there really data that heavy Facebook use caused…erm, is correlated with…erm, is linked to real-life hate crimes?

Plus: Does all our yammering about fake news make people think real news is fake? By Shan Wang, for NiemanLab The growing stream of reporting on and data about fake news, misinformation, partisan content, and news literacy is hard to keep up with. This weekly roundup offers the highlights of what you might have missed. Study says heavy Facebook use is linked to more hate crimes against asylum seekers in Germany. Wait,

#PackOfLies: How Moldova protects itself against disinformation

By Vilnius Institute for Policy Analysis Though Moldova is daily bombarded by huge amounts of disinformation, there are active groups in the country working on disclosing and countering propaganda. They not only seek to expose to the society a range of different lies spread but also teach how to fight disinformation. Three main initiatives, working on disclosing and fighting propaganda, operate in the country. One of the best-known initiatives is

Kremlin Watch Briefing: US and European elections – how to protect them?

Topics of the Week Ilya Zaslavskiy: Israel should acknowledge the threat of the Kremlin’s hostile influence and act accordingly. Are the US midterms already in jeopardy? RT is fond of Trump, but not so much the United States. Robotrolling: Russian-language messages about the Baltics and Poland mainly produced by humans for the first time Good Old Soviet Joke A foreign correspondent asks a Czech citizen: “What’s the situation after Prague Spring? Are the Russians your

Russian analyst belittles American LNG potential in a ‘gas war’ over Europe

By Polygraph Sergei Savchuk RIA Novosti Contributor “As of today, the number of all liquefied natural gas plants in the United States is precisely…one. It’s located in the state of Louisiana, its name is Sabine Pass and the American company ExxonMobil is a shareholder.” Source: RIA Novosti FALSE There are two operational liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants in the United States, with more coming on stream soon. Cheniere Energy’s LNG

Figure of the week: 93

By EU vs Disinfo As many as 93 percent of messages about vaccines posted on Twitter between 2014 and 2017 came from malicious accounts, including accounts operated by Russian trolls. The findings were published by researchers at George Washington University as part of a new study titled “Weaponized Health Communication: Twitter Bots and Russian Trolls Amplify the Vaccine Debate.” Researchers examined a random sample of almost 1.8 million tweets collected

Russian Embassy tweets misleading photo about Syria

By Polygraph Twitter Account of Russia’s Embassy in South Africa Official Russian Foreign Ministry social media account “Russian Defence Ministry: English-speaking ‘foreign specialists’ have arrived in #Syria to attempt staging chlorine chemical attack early this week. Latest intel indicates the hoax is planned to take place in the village of Kafr Zita (Hama province) #HoaxAlert” Source: Twitter FALSE The photo is of the set of a Syrian government film. On

Kremlin’s distortions of history keep Russians in the dark

By Sarah Hurst (@XSovietNews). for StopFake The Kremlin not only writes its own version of current events such as the downing of MH17 and Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons attacks in Syria, but also strives actively to promote a very different – and extremely distorted – version of history. Most disturbingly, Stalin has been rehabilitated as a great war leader, while his reign of tyranny is downplayed. Another one of the

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