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Pro-Russian Disinformation Outlet Evades Facebook Ban

January 3rd, 2022 15:15

The Insti­tute for Strate­gic Dia­logue (ISD), a UK think tank, report­ed last Novem­ber that News Front, a pro-Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion out­let sub­ject to US sanc­tions and banned from Face­book, has man­aged to resume many of its activ­i­ties on Face­book. Accord­ing to an ISD report:

Novem­ber 23, 2021 ISD’s recent inves­ti­ga­tion into pro-Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion reveals that News Front, a well-known pro­pa­gan­da out­let sub­ject to US sanc­tions and sup­pos­ed­ly banned from Face­book, has been able to resume many of its oper­a­tions on the plat­form.  Strik­ing­ly, News Front has done this with­out any sig­nif­i­cant changes in their tac­tics. This rais­es ques­tions about how mean­ing­ful Facebook’s bans real­ly are, and whether Facebook’s ongo­ing efforts to enforce its own poli­cies are working. […]

ISD’s most recent report, ‘What’s new (and What’s not) with News Front’, now reveals that News Front has sim­ply shift­ed to shar­ing links to novedad-news.info, con­tin­u­ing to oper­ate more or less exact­ly as before. The same is true for most of the oth­er lan­guages in which News Front pub­lish­es, using a total of eight mir­ror domains.  Based on Crowd­Tan­gle data, ISD found that between 1st Jan­u­ary 2021 to 11th July 2021, links to these eight mir­ror domains were shared 6,423 times on Face­book. Notably, while mir­ror domains exist for Eng­lish and Ger­man lan­guage con­tent, these did not appear to be being pub­licly shared on Face­book at the time of analysis.

Read the rest here

The full ISD report here.

In April, we report­ed that News Front was among a num­ber of Rus­sia-linked media out­lets des­ig­nat­ed by the  US over dis­in­for­ma­tion efforts and inter­fer­ence in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tions. In August, the GIOR pub­lished an exclu­sive inves­ti­ga­tion into a Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign spread­ing “the Great Reset” con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry in the West in which News Front played an instru­men­tal part. Accord­ing to the GIOR investigation:

August 30, 2021 News Front, iden­ti­fied by the US as a mul­ti-lan­guage pro­pa­gan­da out­let direct­ed by Russia’s fed­er­al secu­ri­ty ser­vice, pub­lished sev­er­al arti­cles claim­ing “the Great Reset” is a glob­al agen­da that will lead to a cen­tral­ized tech­no­crat­ic rule with low­er liv­ing stan­dards and few­er civ­il rights and that peo­ple will be imple­ment­ed chips that can read their mind. Accord­ing to one arti­cle, “it is not a ‘con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry’ if they open­ly tell you what they want to do.” Anoth­er News Front arti­cle from Feb­ru­ary claimed that the new US admin­is­tra­tion ful­ly sup­ports the plans for the “great reset” that could have been pre­vent­ed by Don­ald Trump while it was clear that Vladimir Putin would say firm ‘no’ to these plans.

Read the full GIOR inves­ti­ga­tion here.