Facebook, Rene Directa, Iran discussed on The World
Call it fake news. Call it propaganda tonight. A look inside Russia's disinformation campaign, another onslaught of Russian propaganda this time flooding the internet for months, we've heard about Russian efforts to divide Americans and disrupt the twenty sixteen election. So how did coordinated disinformation campaigns play out in this election? Let me turn to Rene Directa. She joins us from our BBC studios in Washington Rene, you research online disinformation for the Austin based company new knowledge and to be clear, we're not talking about hacking here, we're talking propaganda disinformation fake news. So tell us what you saw in the lead up to the midterms the Russians were very much involved in the midterms. Again, this year they've never really gone away. That's just a evolution of tactics. I would say so what we see is increasing promotion of what we would call overt propaganda sites that are known to be attributed to Russian state interests, so artistes, but next some of their media properties, some of their think tanks the stuff that many folks around the world would recognize. It's propaganda, but American audiences are not quite as adept at recognizing it as such yet. The second thing that they do is the covert operations working to amplify existing stories. There would be news stories and highly partisan domestic press talking about for example, the cavenaugh hearings, and we would see these Russian accounts, he's Russian persona accounts active amplifying, those messages amplifying those stories so it was a little bit different than twenty sixteen. And that they didn't do the hard work of creating this site and the Facebook page and the media brand around a particular type of activist group. They simply engaged by amplifying real material written by real Americans that appealed to the audiences that they wanted to go after we also heard about Iran launching a coordinated disinflation campaign that was eventually spotted by Facebook. What did that look like that was an a campaign that was targeting the American left primarily, and in this particular case the Iranians reached out to the American League? Thinking that amplifying the messages of the American left amplifying, perhaps the chance of electoral success of the American left would benefit them. So this is sort of a find the people who are most ideologically aligned with you that are real amplify their message, and hopefully influence the electorate so with uranian pages, we saw them repurposing memes from sites like occupied Democrats did that surprise you. Because I mean, foreign policy isn't like a big draw during the midterms, and that assumes that Iran thought, well, there'll be a lot of people on the left progressives who want to see this deal start up again. I mean that seems a little tone deaf. I think that there is a is a long game. So increasing your audience, increasing the prevalence of a point of view that benefits you over time is part of what we see here. So for example, the Russian operation in two thousand sixteen began in two thousand fourteen are the gatekeepers Twitter and Facebook ramped up enough in their rigor and spotting the stuff, I think that they're doing much better. Yes. So it's not. Not perfect. But one of the things that has been really important to me to to watch since two thousand sixteen is the evolution of kind of Multistakeholder as I'm here. So we did see Facebook take down a collection of pages just last night with a tip off from law enforcement. We were told and that's fantastic. That's exactly the kind of thing. We wanna see we wanna see that cooperation we know that accounts that we have given to the platforms have come down. So that's the sort of thing that's the ideal state as someone who attracts disinflation. What are you going to be looking out for over the next two years? I think it's going to be groups. I've I felt this way for for years now, actually, I'm because that's where like minded people tend to cluster. So I I think that we're going to see less of the two thousand sixteen playbook of creating coal cloth media properties with sites and pages and Twitter accounts and much more infiltration of groups, and when you say groups about different Facebook groups, or I'm talking about Facebook group specifically, I think that there's an opportunity to infiltrate these closed communities to ex-. Cert- influence over communities that already do have some distribution and some audience Rene duress researches online disinflation and propaganda for the company new knowledge Rene. Thank you. Thank you. News headlines are coming right up. This is the world. KCRW.