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Zombie Websites Being Used For Disinformation

January 10th, 2022 15:35

US media report­ed in 2020 on the poten­tial use of so-called “Zom­bie sites,” the use of long-dor­mant web­sites for dis­in­for­ma­tion pur­pos­es. Accord­ing to the Dai­ly Beast, such sites were being used for Rus­sia-linked disinformation:

Octo­ber 31, 2020 For users of the nascent inter­net of the late-90s and ear­ly-2000s, it was a much sim­pler time. Text-based web design. Pix­e­lat­ed graph­ics. Danc­ing babies and ham­sters. Remem­ber those lame attempts by cor­po­ra­tions to make web­site tie-ins to pop­u­lar prod­ucts or movies? (Space Jam, any­one?) Cap­tured by the dig­i­tal nov­el­ty of it all, you might have even made a first clunky web­site of your very own. Well, many of those ear­ly web­sites have lived a long life in the first two decades of the dig­i­tal age, but have evolved; oth­ers have stayed the same. Famous­ly, the orig­i­nal site pro­mot­ing the clas­sic duo of Michael Jor­dan and Bugs Bun­ny is still going strong—an unchanged mon­u­ment to mid-90s nos­tal­gia that Rolling Stone once called “The Web­site that Wouldn’t Die.” But what of the ear­ly web­sites that lived a short, grainy life and did die, aban­doned by their cre­ators as asso­ci­at­ed busi­ness­es and prod­ucts fold­ed? While most of those ear­ly web­sites have been buried in the grave­yard of dig­i­tal his­to­ry, pur­vey­ors of dis­in­for­ma­tion work­ing to game search engine opti­miza­tion have exhumed some of these sites, cleaned them up, and weaponized them. This appears to now include ped­dlers of Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion nar­ra­tives, who have rean­i­mat­ed molder­ing sites as rudi­men­ta­ry pro­pa­gan­da platforms.

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