April 20 2021, 12:31 pm

Major Western Brands Inadvertently Funding Russian Disinformation

The Glob­al Dis­in­for­ma­tion Index (GDI), a Lon­don-based NGO that aims at dis­rupt­ing dis­in­for­ma­tion, is report­ing that major West­ern brands and ad ser­vices are inad­ver­tent­ly fund­ing debunked Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion tar­get­ing the Euro­pean Union. Accord­ing to a GDI report:

April 13, 2021 GDI has stud­ied a selec­tion of pop­u­lar brand ads appear­ing on dis­in­for­ma­tion sto­ries debunked by the EU. Dis­in­for­ma­tion nar­ra­tives tracked in this deck include:

  • COVID-19 vac­ci­na­tions and conspiracies.
  • EU insti­tu­tion­al instability.
  • NATO in con­flict and seek­ing conflict..
  • Lack of Russ­ian respon­si­bil­i­ty in Ukrain­ian conflict.
  • Legal annex­a­tion of Crimea.

The EU Exter­nal Action Ser­vice has debunked all of the sto­ries on

Read the full report here.

Accord­ing to the report, the fol­low­ing major brands have placed such ads:

  • Expe­dia
  • Tchi­bo
  • Sev­erin
  • Euro­pean Invest­ment Bank
  • Swoodoo
  • Sixt
  • Seat
  • eBay
  • Ltur
  • E‑on
  • Estée Laud­er Companies
  • TUI
  • Darphin Paris
  • Hel­lo Fresh

The GDI report fur­ther notes that the ad com­pa­nies serv­ing these ads and fund­ing these sto­ries include:

  • Crite­ol
  • Taboola
  • Google
  • Web­gains
  • TRG

In March, the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report­ed about an obscure net­work of auto­mat­ed web­sites spread­ing pro-Russ­ian disinformation.

In April, we report­ed that Russia’s build-up of mil­i­tary forces along the Ukrain­ian bor­der is being accom­pa­nied by inten­si­fied dis­in­for­ma­tion efforts.


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