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US Election Disinformation Reaches Europe, Russian-Backed Media Participating

December 9th, 2020 13:25

Euro­pean media is report­ing on the grow­ing issue of dis­in­for­ma­tion about the US elec­tion in Europe. Accord­ing to the Euronews report, Russ­ian-backed media out­lets are par­tic­i­pat­ing in spread­ing this disinformation:

Decem­ber 8, 2020 The cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of elec­tion results was nev­er a big sto­ry in the US, let alone in Europe — until this year. With accu­sa­tions of mas­sive vot­er fraud alive and well, the accom­pa­ny­ing legal process is now pre­sent­ed by many as the ulti­mate test of Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy. Almost a month after elec­tion day in the Unit­ed States, mis­in­for­ma­tion about vot­ing con­tin­ues to flour­ish online — in the US of course, but in Europe, too. And just as it threat­ens the essence of Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy, it is also threat­en­ing to sow dis­trust in the elec­toral process in Europe ahead of cru­cial elec­tions. News­Guard, a com­pa­ny that rates the cred­i­bil­i­ty of news and infor­ma­tion sites, has count­ed more than 40 French, Ital­ian and Ger­man-lan­guage web­sites that pub­lished false claims about the 2020 U. S. elec­tion. “We all knew that the US Democ­rats were plan­ning to manip­u­late the elec­tions… But what has hap­pened in the last few days goes beyond what even those who feared elec­toral fraud expect­ed, in scale and audac­i­ty,” wrote a Ger­man blog on Novem­ber 5. On Novem­ber 26, a French far-right web­site explained why “the ongo­ing coup” in the US was “threat­en­ing the world”. The coup that the site was refer­ring to was not the unsub­stan­ti­at­ed claims by Pres­i­dent Trump and his sup­port­ers to over­turn a legit­i­mate elec­tion but to the elec­tion itself. In Ger­many and France, Russ­ian out­lets RT and Sput­nik, known for pub­lish­ing false infor­ma­tion to dis­par­age Russia’s rivals, joined in on the conspiracies.

Read the rest here.

Rel­e­vant Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report has included:

  • An ear­li­er report today on an EU dig­i­tal ini­tia­tive to fight dis­in­for­ma­tion, focus­ing on elec­tion integri­ty among oth­er issues.
  • report last month that pro-Russ­ian media has been claim­ing that the US democ­ra­cy is an illu­sion, that the elec­tion was fraud­u­lent, and thus the US has no right to lec­ture oth­ers about human rights or democracy.
  • A report last month that intel­li­gence offi­cials and ana­lysts have con­clud­ed that Rus­sia may be shift­ing the vehi­cle for its influ­ence oper­a­tions from the use of so-called troll farms and fake social media accounts to state-backed media