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NATO Study Warns Of Increased Inauthentic Russian-Language Social Media Activity

November 8th, 2021 13:53

The NATO Strate­gic Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Cen­tre of Excel­lence report­ed last month that it has observed the most sig­nif­i­cant increase in inau­then­tic Russ­ian-lan­guage social media activ­i­ty since 2017, not­ing that the increased activ­i­ty coin­cid­ed with the spring and sum­mer mil­i­tary exer­cise sea­son. Accord­ing to the NATO study:

Sep­tem­ber 8, 2021 In this edi­tion of Robot­rolling we track the most sig­nif­i­cant increase in inau­then­tic Russ­ian-lan­guage social media activ­i­ty we have observed since we began in 2017. While the lev­el of bot activ­i­ty remains much low­er than four years ago, the uptick is con­cern­ing.  The increased activ­i­ty coin­cid­ed with the spring and sum­mer mil­i­tary exer­cise sea­son, and the peri­od run­ning up to the Russ­ian Federation’s Zapad exer­cis­es, sched­uled for Sep­tem­ber 2021.  While fake activ­i­ty increased in the Russ­ian-lan­guage space, we observed no increase in Eng­lish-lan­guage activ­i­ty, either from bots or from human-con­trolled accounts.  In this edi­tion of Robot­rolling, we intro­duce the Glob­al Data­base of Events Loca­tion and Tone (GDELT). This data­base of news arti­cles helps map how the con­ver­sa­tion about NATO in Poland and the Baltics is cov­ered by news media, and serves as a con­trast to the envi­ron­ment observed on Twit­ter and VK. This con­trast reveals that in April 2021—as Russ­ian troops mobi­lized along the Ukrain­ian border—inauthentic Russ­ian accounts were also dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly active online.  We round off the issue with a dis­cus­sion of how AI can help us bet­ter under­stand the glob­al news envi­ron­ment in near-real­time, based on con­ver­sa­tions with Strat­Com COE expert Gun­dars Bergma­n­is-Korāts and GDELT-founder Kalev Leetaru.

Read the full report here.