RussiaJune 27 2022, 11:56 am

Canada Targeted by Russian Online Disinformation, Study Finds

Cana­di­an media recent­ly report­ed that an analy­sis of over six mil­lion tweets found that Rus­sia is tar­get­ing Cana­da to influ­ence pub­lic opin­ion about the war in Ukraine. Accord­ing to a report by Glob­al News:

June 8, 2022 The study by the Uni­ver­si­ty of Calgary’s School of Pub­lic Pol­i­cy found that huge num­bers of tweets and retweets about the war in Ukraine can be traced back to Rus­sia and Chi­na, with even more tweets express­ing pro-Russ­ian sen­ti­ment traced to the Unit­ed States.  Assis­tant pro­fes­sor Jean-Christophe Bouch­er said in an inter­view that the Russ­ian “state appa­ra­tus” is asso­ci­at­ed with many accounts tweet­ing in Cana­da, and is influ­enc­ing posts that are retweet­ed, liked or repeat­ed by dif­fer­ent accounts again and again. The tweets com­mon­ly express pro-Russ­ian talk­ing points, includ­ing that Ukraine is a fas­cist state or that NATO wants to expand, pos­ing a threat to Rus­sia.  The team of experts at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­gary ana­lyzed 6.2 mil­lion tweets from around the world and applied algo­rithms to trace their origins.

Read the rest here and the full study here.

The report says the study also found that in “the Cana­di­an Twit­ter ecosys­tem” dis­cussing the war, around 25 per­cent of the accounts were spread­ing pro-Russ­ian talk­ing points. Some accounts were “Tro­jan hors­es,” with some Cana­di­ans unaware the pro-Putin nar­ra­tives trace their ori­gins back to Rus­sia, Chi­na, or right-wing influ­encers in the US. The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) has exten­sive­ly report­ed on the con­ver­gence of Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion and US right-wing talk­ing points. GIOR recent­ly pub­lished a report cen­tered on a new and devel­op­ing alliance between US con­ser­v­a­tives and Euro­pean nation­al­ists, a poten­tial means for Rus­sia to exert covert influ­ence in Europe and the US, using Hun­gary as a platform.

Recent GIOR cov­er­age of for­eign inter­fer­ence and dis­in­for­ma­tion in Cana­da has included:

  • In June, we report­ed that Canada’s chief elec­tion watch­dog warned that online dis­in­for­ma­tion and for­eign inter­fer­ence are two of the biggest threats fac­ing Canada’s elec­toral system.
  • In April, we report­ed that the Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment is “on high alert” against Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion attempts against the country.
  • In Jan­u­ary, we report­ed that Canada’s domes­tic intel­li­gence agency warned that China’s efforts to dis­tort the news and influ­ence media out­lets in Cana­da “have become nor­mal­ized” and “more sophis­ti­cat­ed, fre­quent, and insidious.


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