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Russian Disinformation Outlets Cited on Wikipedia, Study Finds

April 29th, 2022 10:24

An EU Project has pub­lished a study about Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion out­lets cit­ed on Wikipedia, the pop­u­lar online ency­clo­pe­dia any­one can edit. The EUvs­Dis­in­fo arti­cle describes the study as follows:

19 April 2022: In order to bet­ter under­stand the vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty of Wikipedia to both unwit­ting mis­in­for­ma­tion and inten­tion­al dis­in­for­ma­tion, we ran a pilot study last year focus­ing on four well-known pro-Krem­lin dis­in­for­ma­tion out­lets – South­Front, News­Front, InfoRos and Strate­gic Cul­ture Foun­da­tion. All four are linked to Russ­ian intel­li­gence ser­vices and are sanc­tioned by the US Depart­ment of the Trea­sury for attempts to inter­fere in the 2020 US elec­tions. Before div­ing into the find­ings, a com­ment on the method­ol­o­gy. The research aimed to answer three ques­tions. First, what is the poten­tial harm caused by the ref­er­ence to the select­ed dis­in­for­ma­tion out­lets? Sec­ond, are the links to the out­lets inten­tion­al or the result of mere neg­li­gence? Third, what are the poten­tial ways to reduce the impact of this?

Read the rest here.

The study found that the arti­cles cit­ing these  pro-Krem­lin dis­in­for­ma­tion out­lets were main­ly in areas of inter­est to the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment, such as the Mid­dle East, Syr­ia, and the words “Russ­ian” or “inter­ven­tion.” The arti­cle notes that even when the web­sites were cit­ed, they were some­times con­sid­ered valid resources because they had re-print­ed a press release. The arti­cle also notes that some lan­guage ver­sions of Wikipedia have tak­en steps to remove cita­tions from these sources because they are Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion sites, lead­ing to a sig­nif­i­cant reduc­tion of their use in the Eng­lish and French ver­sions of Wikipedia. The arti­cle also did not find evi­dence that these web­sites were cit­ed with an intent to manip­u­late infor­ma­tion but argues that their pres­ence on Wikipedia is a threat to its rep­u­ta­tion and the integri­ty of its service.