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Major Western Media Outlets Targeted By Pro-Russian Influence Operation

September 7th, 2021 16:51

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.

Read the rest here

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.