Cardiff University is reporting that major Western media outlets across 16 countries have been targeted by a pro-Russian disinformation campaign where pro-Russian statements were posted in the comment sections of articles of relevance to Russia. According to the university’s press release:
September 6, 2021 A major influence operation is systematically manipulating Western media to spread propaganda and disinformation that supports Kremlin interests, a report from Cardiff University concludes. Researchers from the Crime and Security Research Institute have found evidence that 32 prominent media outlets across 16 countries have been targeted via their reader comments sections. Websites which have been repeatedly subjected to these activities include: The Daily Mail; Daily Express and The Times in the UK; America’s Fox News and Washington Post; Le Figaro in France; Der Spiegel and Die Welt in Germany; and Italy’s La Stampa. The team identified 242 stories where provocative pro-Russian or anti-Western statements were posted in reaction to articles of relevance to Russia. These comments were then fed back to a range of Russian-language media outlets who used them as the basis of stories about politically controversial events.
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Go here for the full report.
The study was published as part of Cardiff University’s Open Source Communications Analytics Research (OSCAR) program, a large multi-disciplinary research effort designed to develop an evidence-based understanding of the causes, construction, communication, and consequences of (dis)information operations and campaigns.
Recent GIOR coverage of Russian social media disinformation campaigns has included:
- In August, we published a GIOR investigation exposing how Russian disinformation channels are spreading “the Great Reset” conspiracy theory in the West.
- In August, we reported that Russia is using “weaponized victimhood” as a strategy to further its disinformation efforts.
- In August, we reported that Facebook banned a Russian disinformation network that claimed coronavirus vaccines turn people into chimpanzees.