Experts: intervention in the elections – only part of the work of...

Experts: intervention in the elections – only part of the work of the Russian propaganda machine


Эксперты: вмешательство в выборы – лишь часть работы российской пропагандистской машины

Analysts have studied hundreds of thousands of posts from fake accounts in social networks

Russia has created a propaganda machine of the “full spectrum”, and its attempt to influence the outcome of the 2016 election with the help of social networks is just one example of a new type of espionage, facing the world, according to the research team that studied hundreds of thousands of fake tweets and posts to Facebook, presumably published by the Russian agents.

Analysis conducted by the laboratory of digital examinations of the Atlantic Council, was submitted after last week the Ministry of justice and spectacular Robert Mueller filed against 13 Russian individuals and three companies allegations of attempts to interfere in American politics.

The researchers studied tens of thousands of fake accounts in social networks and the so-called “botnets” that have been used in attempts to influence the election of 2016.

Presenting the results of their work at the Munich security conference, researchers demonstrated how the Kremlin keeps a close coordination between the various components of their-oiled propaganda machine.

“It is possible to present a full spectrum. There are open tools of propaganda, such as RT (Russia Today) and Sputnik, is diplomatic, such as the Russian Embassy in South Africa or the Russian Consulate General in Geneva. Then, there are sites that call themselves independent, but, according to the testimony of whistleblowers or the results of the examinations are financed from the same sources, financed by the Russian government. In addition, there are trolls and bots, whose task is to increase the effect of what is happening”, – said the representative of the laboratory Ben Nimmo in an interview with “voice of America”.

In 2016, the Russian hackers stole the e-mails of the National Committee of the Democratic party, later publishing it on the website WikiLeaks.According to Nimmo, the timeline allows you to see the various elements of the propaganda machine.

“If you browse the online archives for the day of the leak, you will see how the accounts of “Troll Factory” inflated leakage DNC, saying that the mainstream media surely will not tell: probably all go here. Only one account, Tennessee GOP, which was the most effective fake Twitter account of “Troll Factory”, has more than 2,000 retweets this story. At the same time, RT and Sputnik reported about this “shocking story” with the leaks. Thus, it is possible to trace the relationship between the various parts of this machine,” he says.

To fight this propaganda, Nimmo and his team propose to teach Internet users the “social resistance” – for example, looking for an old profile picture and check old posts.

“Before distributing any account and subscribe to it, it is worth examining the profile. You need to look at it and think: here is the Twitter account. The average number of posts per day it publishes? If it was created three weeks ago and since then he has published 150 000 posts, do you think this is a real person? But if it’s not human, why to cooperate with him?” – says the expert.

Russian authorities have repeatedly denied the attempts to intervene in American politics. However, experts emphasize that the alleged intervention in the election – only the first swallow of a new field of spying and security services, and the General public, need to learn how to counter this threat.