X

New Report Finds ‘Massive Increase’ of Pro-Russian Propaganda on German Telegram Channels

May 16th, 2022 14:04

Ger­man media report­ed last month that there has been a “mas­sive increase” of pro-Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da being shared on Ger­man Telegram chan­nels, some of which have amassed more than 145,000 sub­scribers. Accord­ing to a report by Tagesschau:

April 22, 2022 In fact, pro-Russ­ian chan­nels have seen mas­sive growth since the start of Rus­si­a’s war of aggres­sion on Feb­ru­ary 24th. The think tank Cen­ter for Mon­i­tor­ing, Analy­sis and Strat­e­gy (CeMAS) eval­u­at­ed sev­er­al pro-Russ­ian chan­nels for the ARD mag­a­zine Mon­i­tor. These are chan­nels such as “Rus­s­län­der und Friends” or “Anti-Spiegel”. All have mul­ti­plied their sub­scriber num­bers since the begin­ning of the war.  The “Neues aus Rus­s­land” account, oper­at­ed by the Ger­man Ali­na Lipp, has grown the most. On Feb­ru­ary 24, the Telegram chan­nel still had 8,000 sub­scribers, and the day after that, more than twice as many. More than 130,000 peo­ple now fol­low the chan­nel.  Jan Rath­je from CeMAS also sees one rea­son for the strong increase in the fact that the Ger­man Telegram chan­nel of Rus­sia Today was switched off at the begin­ning of March. “After the ban, you could see that there was a cer­tain vac­u­um with­in the con­spir­a­cy-ide­o­log­i­cal milieu in order to get cer­tain pro-Russ­ian infor­ma­tion.” Pro-Russ­ian Telegram chan­nels would have ben­e­fit­ed from this. The chan­nels, on the oth­er hand, have also been heav­i­ly pro­mot­ed in already-exist­ing con­spir­a­cy-ide­o­log­i­cal chan­nels, most of which also have a pro-Russ­ian stance. Above all, the Krem­lin’s pro­pa­gan­da is spread in the chan­nels: Rus­sia is fight­ing Nazis in Ukraine, the alleged war crimes in Bucha and Kram­a­torsk were not com­mit­ted by Russ­ian sol­diers, and the city of Mar­i­upol was “lib­er­at­ed” by the Russ­ian army. [Trans­lat­ed with Google Translate]

Read the rest here.

Accord­ing to the Tagess­chau report, the fol­low­ing Telegram chan­nels are spread­ing pro-Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da in Germany:

In March, Euro­pean media report­ed that Telegram banned Krem­lin-backed media out­lets from using its plat­form with­in the EU. A Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report inves­ti­ga­tion has found that many of these chan­nels can still be accessed in Europe through third-par­ty web­sites, reach­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple. These chan­nels include:

In March, the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report­ed that Telegram was emerg­ing as one of the more covert influ­ence vehi­cles Rus­sia would be rely­ing upon in light of the shut­down of its state media oper­a­tions in the West. Recent GIOR cov­er­age of Telegram has included:

  • In May, we report­ed that an anti­se­mit­ic con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry is being shared on Telegram to jus­ti­fy Russia’s inva­sion of Ukraine.
  • In March, we report­ed that a Russ­ian Telegram chan­nel pur­port­ing to be a fact-check­ing ser­vice but, in real­i­ty, itself a major source of dis­in­for­ma­tion on the Ukraine conflict.
  • In March, we report­ed how some of the unique aspects of Telegram are result­ing in the social mes­sag­ing app increas­ing­ly being used for influ­ence purposes.