Toronto Metropolitan University has recently published a study examining how successful Russian propaganda is spreading in Canada. The study has found that over half of Canadians have been exposed to pro-Russian propaganda about the Ukraine war on social media and that most right-leaning responders support Russian claims. According to a press release by the university:
July 11, 2022 Canadians are being exposed to pro-Kremlin propaganda. Slightly over half of Canadians (51%) reported encountering at least one pro-Kremlin claim about the Russia-Ukraine war on social media, according to new research from the Social Media Lab at the Ted Rogers School of Management. […] The report, authored by Anatoliy Gruzd (Canada Research Chair), Philip Mai, Felipe Bonow Soares and Alyssa Saiphoo, from the Social Media Lab shows that the most prevalent claim, encountered by 35% of Canadians, was “Ukrainian nationalism is a neo-Nazi movement”. The report also shows that Canadians who hold right-leaning views are more likely to believe in pro-Kremlin propaganda overall as compared to Canadians who hold mixed or left-leaning views. Furthermore, Canadians who believe in pro-Kremlin propaganda are more likely to rely on social media for news about the war than those who do not believe.
The survey shows that between 49–64% of right-leaning Canadians support seven pro-Russian claims such as “Ukrainian nationalism is a neo-Nazi movement” (50%), “the United States has a network of biological weapons labs in Ukraine” (58%), or “the Kyiv regime is spreading doctored photos and videos of supposed atrocities by Russians” (64%). The survey also shows that those who believe in one or more pro-Russian claims are more likely to rely on social media for news about the war than those who do not believe in any. For example, 57% of those who believe that “Ukrainian nationalism is a neo-Nazi movement” said their preferred news source is social media or messaging apps. In comparison, only 23% of those who do not believe in this claim prefer social media as a news source.
Canadian media recently published an investigation into Western social media influencers helping Putin’s war on Ukraine, identifying the Canadian activist Eva Bartlett as one of the most influential pro-Russian propagandists.