Home | About | Donate

With Much Focus on Russian 'Troll Farms,' Oxford Study Shows Social Media Misinformation Campaigns Are 'Big Business' Worldwide


#1

With Much Focus on Russian 'Troll Farms,' Oxford Study Shows Social Media Misinformation Campaigns Are 'Big Business' Worldwide

Jake Johnson, staff writer

While much of the world's attention is currently centered on efforts by Russian operatives to sow discord among the American electorate with fake social media posts and "troll farms" during the 2016 presidential election, an Oxford Internet Institute study publish


#2

Isn’t that the main reason we are here reading Commondreams?


#3

My favorite antidote to all this fact-free misinformation, fabricated narratives and conspiracy-theory nonsense that seem to be increasingly uniting a red-brown coalition on the fringes of the left and right, is Snopes.com

For the edification of a lot of believers of fake narratives here, I present this:


#4

Social Media…

…is neither.


#5

Much of the world is preoccupied with Russia sowing discord during the 2016 US election? No they’re not. But this piece acts like propaganda to make people believe that.

“Despite recent efforts by Facebook, Twitter, and governments to rein in the proliferation of fake stories on social media, Oxford researchers found that the use of bots to quickly spread disinformation is growing exponentially.”

You mean these companies that delete truth and spread fake news? The same companies spying on us for the corrupt gov. They’re already contributing to lockups of US citizens for saying the truth.

The reason “emerging” democracies and even OUR “democracy” do not trust is not because of robots sowing distrusts. We know they’re there and with real people paid to do it - hey right on this forum. The corrupt establishment pays them. But, we don’t trust the news because of articles like yours.


#6

No. Snopes is massively politically corrupted. In 2016, they had massive backwards articles for Clinton that they gave the okay for in the most propaganda trying to get the word out that she’s honest, way. Do not trust Snopes. It’s a disinformation site.


#7

Misinformation is propagated by mainstream media to an exponentially greater, effective extent than social media could ever possibly acheive. The CIA uses all mainstream media to constantly broadcast total fabrications such as Russia-gate, the War on Terror, and other wide ranging war mongering.


#8

Russia has been trying to undermine US democracy for many years but it is only when social media became widespread that they apparently achieved really meaningful results.They saw how social media played such a big role in the Arab Spring in Egypt and then it was off to races attacking the US with trolls, bots, and ads. It may be democracy cannot survive social media. Democracies may collapse everywhere. Social media provides such a powerful weapon of those who want to bring down democracy that no adequate defense may be found in time. Of course conversely, social media provides a tremendous way to increase democracy. Grassroots organizing can be done much quicker than in the past. We have seen demonstrations at airports organized almost immediately when Trump initiated a Muslim ban. But such grassroots actions may be insufficient against massive manipulation of information that is now possible.


#9

Snopes.com does a reasonable job of eliminating completely fake stuff like the case you point out and I often use them for that when I want to do a quick verification of things. Sometimes they are a little lazy about the details especially on budget matters.


#10

A big problem is too many people are no longer willing to pay for the news because so much is given away for free. Social media sites are free because their business is about collecting personal data from people and selling the data to advertisers. Most newspapers now only give away a few free articles a month and require a subscription for total access to their website or purchasing the actual newspaper. Reporters and editors have to be paid. Newspapers have always depended on subscriptions in addition to ads for income. Social media is sort of parasitic. They don’t pay anyone to gather the news, they rely on users posting news from news organizations that do pay reporters and editors. This arrangement is destroying democracy and privacy. Unless people pay for news the erosion seems likely to continue. Freebies are very enticing but there is a big price to pay and that price is not worth it. The answer is pay for newspapers and don’t use social media as a news source.


#11

Not sure that newspapers are the best news source. They depend on ads for their living after all.


#12

The pioneers of these troll farms are US and Israeli gov’t agencies. They’ve had armies of trolls and disinfo agents working full time since 9/11.


#13

Are you seriously suggesting that the "White Helmets’ are not a British founded, and NATO funded auxiliary to the Al Nusra Front and other wahhabi terrorist groups fighting the Syrian government ?
Ever heard of ‘former’ MI6 agent James Le Mesurier?
It is almost certain that the "White Helmets’ were responsible for the faked chemical bomb attacks blamed on Syria and Russia.


#14

“While much of the world’s attention is currently centered on efforts by Russian operatives to sow discord among the American electorate with fake social media posts and “troll farms” during the 2016 presidential election…”
Most of the world know very well that there has been only the flimsiest excuse for evidence that such ‘Russian operatives’ existed or tried to ‘sow discord’ in the American electorate.
As a matter of fact the notion that it would take a professional operation to sow discord in a notoriously divided electorate is ludicrous on its face.
Add to that they are said to have done so by releasing emails from the DNC outlining ways to cheat in the primary elections and the world- which has seen how sacred democracy is to the US ruling castes-collapses in laughter.


#15

Plenty of black pots and kettles to go around, eh?

So how’s about let’s drop the hypocrisy and focus on cleaning up the kitchen to keep anyone from cooking up these dirty dishes?


#16

A real chicken or egg moment, which came first, disinformation or social media?
Or were they married from the beginning.


#17

The war on terror a complete fraud to maintain the Bush cabal family control of the heroin trade. What no updates from media on the “war” in Afghanistan? The American people will believe anything if it said enough times. We have to get them over there to get the dopes over here.


#18

Anyone who claims certain knowledge about almost any “news” event today is either delusional or a charlatan. This is especially true within the confines of the 24/7 “news” cycle, but opinions and speculations, aided by confirmation bias, quickly harden positions, as the people holding them ignore new evidence. Some sources are more reliable than others (e.g., I would take most of the sources represented on CD before Breitbart), but I reserve judgment for a few days before awarding the flag to any of them.

In the game of “Spy vs Spy” (google or better if you’re too young to remember) there are two players, one black, one white. The object of the game is not to reveal the truth but to get one up on the other guy. Nothing anyone says or does (the original was silent) can be relied upon.

As a prominent leader of The Former Soviet Union told Ronnie Raygun, “Doveryai, no proveryai” (Trust, but verify), good advice we ignore at our peril.


#19

Yes and that is why net neutrality may be extremely important because without it there may be no Commondreams.


#20

And … up is down.