US Prepares Lavishly Funded Anti-Russia Propaganda and Troll Army
The hypocrisy is shocking. The US accuses Russia of meddling in its democracy, without being able to prove it, and spends huge sums doing the exact same thing.
The Yiddish word for this kind of thing is "Chutzpah."
It's no secret that social media manipulation and information war is the greatest weapon in this Cold War 2.0.
This report from the Russian evening news goes into detail about how the US does not simply label Russia State Media as foreign agents, but they send their own army of internet trolls to wage a subversive campaign against Russia online. (Full Transcript provided at the bottom of the article)
According to the report:
The idea is to actively work in social networks to discredit news from Russian state media, and to highlight the posts of opposition Russian-speaking journalists, those who under the new amendments will amount to foreign agents. They target Facebook, Twitter, and even Odnoklassniki.
We have already covered the presence of these disgusting, perverted trolls, on both Facebook and Linkedin, and now it seems they have been given a blank check to expand their trolling network into Russian social media like Odnoklassniki.
This is a dangerous slippery slope. First, they will target Russian State Media, then every single independent journalist who so much as dares to question the narrative.
Their campaign of censorship has already hit close to home when they openly targeted Russian Faith, a website founded by an American military veteran and co-founder of Russia Insider to cover the Christian Renaissance in Russia.
Russian Faith has NOTHING to do with politics, but because it has the word "Russian" in it, that makes it an agent of the Kremlin under this new McCarthyism.
This Orwellian campaign against free speech WILL affect you some day.
First, it starts with RT and Sputnik, they will say it's because they are state funded. Then it will be Russia Insider, they will say RI is fake news created by Putin's useful idiots if they don't outright claim it's secretly Kremlin-funded too.
How long will it be until simply posting pro-Russian comments on a Facebook page, or...gasp, simply having an account on VK or Odnoklassniki, gets you labeled a Kremlin agent?
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Nothing unexpected. Put pressure on RT in the US? Get a tit-for-tat response. There have been multiple warnings. Especially since the US authorities feel free to control other countries' information agendas.
The Polygraph project is more evidence of it. The State Department, of course, wasn't eager to unveil it. But they could not hide it either. The idea is to actively work in social networks to discredit news from Russian state media, and to highlight the posts of opposition Russian-speaking journalists, those who under the new amendments will amount to foreign agents. They target Facebook, Twitter, and even Odnoklassniki.
The scale is impressive. It's about a whole troll factory. Stanislav Bernwald has found out how much they are paid.
And they weren't stingy with them.
Indeed, they weren't, it's about hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars. Let's have the details right now.
A dramatic increase in budgetary spending for anti-Russian propaganda was detected back in June 2017. All the media projects of Broadcasting Board of Governors will continue to be funded by the US federal budget.
For example, the Voice of America will get more than $7 million for programs in Russia, Radio Liberty again has a considerable budget for the coming year, which exceeds $10 million.
Crimea also notices that millions of dollars are lashed out on anti-Russian propaganda. A Kiev troll factory, focusing on Crimea, has considerably increased its personnel.
Dmitry Polonsky, Information Minister of Crimea:
"We can't but notice a dramatic increase in so-called fake news or preplanned bogus stories. Crimea has always been and will remain a target of such information attacks. Of course, it requires significant funds. And the acceleration of this activity that we're monitoring indicates that a lot of money is invested in it."
Not surprising, it's for the work in social media that the budget has been increased. More than $6 million will be invested there, which is almost 350 million rubles. Facebook, Twitter are promising directions, with Russian social media Odnoklassniki and VKontakte being very promising.
Ilya Ukhov, journalist:
"VKontakte and Odnoklassniki have targeted primarily the Russian audience. It's no secret that Odnoklassniki is one of the key social networks in the Russian Federation. Most of its audience isn't engaged in political discussions on Facebook. Obviously, such an interest of US propaganda agencies in these social networks is due to their desire to expand their audience, to break the barrier."
A new approach of the Western propaganda machinery is also interesting. To hit the target, they engage Russian top video bloggers to work for the Western audience like, look how bad everything is here in Russia.
"If a John Smith, American, or a European is telling this, few will believe in it both in the country and in Europe and the US because what can a person who's not integrated into the local environment say? But when a Russian citizen speaks, allegedly sharing their own experience, it sells better, and, I'm sure, there are some contracts in this field."
Here's an illustrative example of fake news. It's not just a post, but paid ads on Facebook. It's a link to the krymr.com website. What's important is, it's a subdivision of Radio Liberty. It says that the Sakharov Prize for Courage has been awarded to a Russian writer condemning the annexation of Crimea.
Meanwhile, the laureate Boris Stomakhin was charged with calls for terrorism and sentenced to 7 years in prison. If we take a closer look at the Sakharov prize, it doesn't look like a prize at all.
Maxim Kononenko, journalist:
"Today we tried to find out what is this Sakharov prize. It's actually not the big Sakharov prize, it's another Sakharov prize created specifically for Boris Stomakhin to receive. So, we can create a Nobel prize, I mean, call it that, award it to you, and everybody will call you a Nobel prize laureate, you'll be in the spotlight."
Experts think we'll see many fakes like this. While control over foreign media will be enhanced in response to the requirement for RT to register as a foreign agent, it's still unclear how to control anti-Russian propaganda on the Internet.
Stanislav Bernwald has reported on the trolls in the State Department's care.
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