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Sputnik And RT Expand Social Media Presence To Telegram

October 18th, 2021 11:32

EUvs­Dis­in­fo, a dis­in­for­ma­tion watch­dog run by the Euro­pean Union’s for­eign ser­vice, is report­ing that Russ­ian state media out­lets Sput­nik and RT are expand­ing their social media pres­ence to Telegram. Accord­ing to a EUvs­Dis­in­fo report:

Octo­ber 1, 2021 Dif­fer­ent lan­guage ver­sions of RT and Sput­nik have cre­at­ed 30+ Telegram chan­nels and have been active­ly pro­mot­ing some of them for months, result­ing in a 37 per cent increase in sub­scribers in 2021 alone.  A wind of change has swiped across social media in recent times. First, major plat­forms like Twit­ter, Face­book, YouTube and What­sApp embarked on changes on their terms of ser­vice, lead­ing to greater mod­er­a­tion and labelling of the con­tent on their plat­forms. Sec­ond­ly, in the first months of 2021 a row over pri­va­cy free­dom of expres­sion and access to infor­ma­tion online prompt­ed an explo­sive rise of subscribers(opens in a new tab) to Telegram, a Russ­ian-built and most­ly unmod­er­at­ed micro-blog­ging plat­form, pre­sent­ed as a safe haven and a pop­u­lar medi­um.  Pro-Krem­lin out­lets seized the oppor­tu­ni­ty to build their clout on home ground. Some were already active on Telegram; oth­ers decid­ed to quick­ly hop on the band­wag­on. The Telegram chan­nel of Sput­nik Ger­many (SNA news) start­ed post­ing in Decem­ber 2020, Sput­nik Inter­na­tion­al was estab­lished on 15 Jan­u­ary this year, fol­lowed by Sput­nik Italy, RT France and Sput­nik France, rais­ing the total of Telegram chan­nels oper­at­ed by dif­fer­ent lan­guage ver­sions of RT and Sput­nik to over 30 by the end of August.  In par­al­lel Sput­nik and RT start­ed an intense cross-plat­form pro­mo­tion: with­in 6 months RT Inter­na­tion­al post­ed 2,600 tweets invit­ing users to join them on Telegram. Dif­fer­ent lan­guage ver­sions of RT and Sput­nik pub­lished over 9,000 Face­book posts alto­geth­er that includ­ed a link to their respec­tive Telegram pres­ence and a call to fol­low the channel.

Read the rest here.

In 2017, the New York Times char­ac­ter­ized RT as follows:

Ana­lysts are sharply divid­ed about the influ­ence of RT. Point­ing to its minus­cule rat­ings num­bers, many cau­tion against over­stat­ing its impact. Yet focus­ing on rat­ings may miss the point, says Peter Pomer­ant­sev, who wrote a book three years ago that described Russia’s use of tele­vi­sion for pro­pa­gan­da. “Rat­ings aren’t the main thing for them,” he said. “These are cam­paigns for finan­cial, polit­i­cal and media influ­ence.” RT and Sput­nik pro­pel those cam­paigns by help­ing cre­ate the fod­der for thou­sands of fake news prop­a­ga­tors and pro­vid­ing anoth­er out­let for hacked mate­r­i­al that can serve Russ­ian inter­ests, said Ben Nim­mo, who stud­ies RT for the Atlantic Coun­cil. What­ev­er its impact, RT is unques­tion­ably a case study in the com­plex­i­ty of mod­ern pro­pa­gan­da. It is both a slick mod­ern tele­vi­sion net­work, dressed up with great visu­als and styl­ish pre­sen­ters, and a con­tent farm that helps feed the Euro­pean far right. View­ers find it dif­fi­cult to dis­cern exact­ly what is jour­nal­ism and what is pro­pa­gan­da, what may be “fake news” and what is real but pre­sent­ed with a strong slant.