NEWSLINK: “Is a New Russian Meddling Tactic Hiding in Plain Sight?” – New York Times/Kevin Roose

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

“To an untrained eye, USAReally might look like any other fledgling news organization vying for attention in a crowded media landscape. Its website publishes a steady stream of stories on hot-button political issues like race, immigration and income inequality. It has reader polls, a video section and a daily podcast. But this is no ordinary media start-up. USAReally is based […]

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NEWSLINK: “Only You Can Defeat Vladimir Putin; Russian Interference With America Is Profound and Systematic, So the Best Self-Defense Is We, the People” – ZocaloPublicSquare/ Reed Johnson

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“… By tampering with elections, hijacking social media platforms, and cranking out reams of bogus conspiracy theories and divisive propaganda, the Russian president and his intelligence operatives have been working overtime to destabilize rival governments and rile up their citizens against one another. With the midterm elections fast approaching, and the American public seething with partisan anger, a Zócalo/Japanese American […]

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NEWSLINK: “How Putin Works to Weaken Faith in the Rule of Law and Our Justice System” – Lawfare/Suzanne Spaulding, Harvey Rishikof

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“The ‘Secure Borders’ Facebook group was not the product of outraged Twin Falls residents. It was created by Russian operatives as part of Russia’s ongoing campaign to weaken our institutions of American democracy — in this case, by sowing discord and painting the justice system as an agent of politicians. …”  

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NEWSLINK: “Russia is gearing up to misinform the U.S. public about Syria. Here’s our cheat sheet to identify Twitter trolls” – Washington Post/Jack Nassetta, Ethan Fecht

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“Russia has begun laying the groundwork for an online influence operation …. How would this Twitter campaign unfold? Here’s what we learned from our recent analysis of a database of over 850,000 tweets collected following the April 2018 chemical attack in Douma, Syria. We uncovered a major increase — approximately 300 percent — in the creation of new Twitter accounts […]

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[Re:] American Intelligence [… Trump, Ukraine, Russia … “Fear: Trump in the White House/Woodward” … Politico ]

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

Fear: Trump in the White House Bob Woodward – p.230 “McMaster (National Security Adviser) said that, at 6:03 a.m., Trump had tweeted:

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RUSSIALINK: “TV Still Russia’s Biggest News Source, but Trust Plummets – Poll” – Moscow Times

Adapted File Photo of TV Set in Russia with Camera, Camerman, Woman on Set in Background

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 13, 2018) Television remains the biggest news source for Russians but has become less trusted over the past decade, according to a new poll published by the independent Levada Center. Seventy-three percent of respondents told Levada that they get their news from television, down from 85 percent this spring. Online news outlets were the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Extreme prejudice: how the Kremlin is cracking down on discontent” – The Times (UK)/Tom Parfitt

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“… Incitement to commit a crime by undercover officers is illegal under Russian law. Critics say the defendants have been set up as hardened plotters intent on a nationwide revolt, when in fact they were simply a small group of disgruntled, naive, young people led on by a provocateur. The trial has a wider significance. … the most prominent of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Fred Weir: ‘This is amazing, astounding, really …’ [Re:] New York Times: “Kremlin Sources Go Quiet, Leaving C.I.A. in the Dark About Putin’s Plans for Midterms'” – Fred Weir/Facebook/New York Times

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Fred Weir – facebook – August 25, 2018 – facebook.com/fred.weir/posts/10216143412434220) [live embedded feed of facebook post should load below; click here for direct link: facebook.com/fred.weir/posts/10216143412434220; text and link also recopied further below as back-up]   “This is amazing, astounding, really. All these stories, including this one, splashed over front pages, are purporting to tell us something about the most sensitive […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia trolls ‘spreading vaccination misinformation’ to create discord” – BBC

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“Troll accounts that had attempted to influence the US election had also been tweeting about vaccines, a study says. Many posted both pro- and anti-vaccination messages to create “false equivalency”, the study found. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s got the gas and is ready to set fire to our system of democracy” – Miami Herald/Markos Kounalakis

Kremlin and River

“… even a currency crunch won’t stop Russia’s foreign interventions because, despite punitive sanctions, the price of oil, ultimately, pays for its troublemaking. High energy prices are the cost of power transferred from Europe and the United States to Russia and other petrostates. The higher the Brent crude price and the market for natural gas, the greater Russia’s domestic tranquility […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s VK announces privacy changes to protect users from arrest” – bne Intellinews

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

“Russia social media site vKontakte (VK) expanded its privacy functions to give its users more tools to protect them from arrest, the company said …. The Kremlin has been cracking down on online criticism of the government. Vedomosti reports that of 182 criminal cases launched in 2017 for social network posts, 138 were based on VK posts, with another four […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Mail.ru Group calls for amnestying people convicted of extremism over reposts, likes” – Interfax

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

MOSCOW. Aug 15 (Interfax) – The Mail.ru Group has urged the State Duma, the Supreme and Constitutional Courts, and the Justice Ministry to decriminalize the activity of social media users and amnesty persons convicted on such counts. “We have sent the following official petitions today: we urged the State Duma to initiate the submission of a bill on the amnesty […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Kremlin urges social media prosecutions to stay within ‘reason'” – Interfax

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

(Interfax – August 14, 2018) The Kremlin has called on investigators and courts in Russia to stay within reason when prosecuting social media users for content they have posted online. “Of course, it is impossible to use general phrases here as each case is unique and needs a separate investigation … But, of course we know that there have been […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Think Tank’s Tiny Lab Helps Facebook Battle Fake Social Media” – Reuters/New York Times

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“A day before Facebook announced that it had discovered and disabled a propaganda campaign designed to sow dissension among U.S. voters, it exclusively shared some of the suspicious pages with an online forensics team so busy it hasn’t put a nameplate on the door.  The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab is based in a 12-foot-by-12-foot office in the Washington, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Kremlin is spearheading a new ‘social-media monitoring system’ to hold local officials more accountable” – Meduza

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“The Kremlin is reportedly spearheading a new social-media monitoring system called ‘Incident Management’ … follow[ing] social networks in real time …. being tested in two regions [one of which is] Moscow.  … monitor[ing] … Vkontakte, Odnoklassniki, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram[], creating an ‘incident’ whenever related disgruntled posts … appear[] on multiple networks. Local officials are … supposed to respond … […]

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NEWSLINK: “Tech didn’t spot Russian interference during the last election. Now it’s asking law enforcement for help.” – Washington Post

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“Silicon Valley companies and law enforcement are starting to talk about how to ward off meddling by malicious actors including Russia on social media in the November midterms, an attempt at dialogue and information-sharing that was absent during the 2016 presidential elections. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Russiagate’s ‘Core Narrative’ Has Always Lacked Actual Evidence; The unprecedented allegation that the Kremlin ‘attacked America’ and ‘colluded’ with its president in order to elect him is based on two documents devoid of facts or logic” – The Nation/Stephen F. Cohen

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place

“… Cohen reminds listeners that the Russiagate scandal, which first leaked into the media in mid-2016, has already done immense political damage during these two years. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Mueller asks to secure evidence in ‘Putin chef’ case, citing Russian intelligence and ongoing interference operations” – Washington Post/Spencer S. Hsu

Robert Mueller file photo, adapted from image at fbi.gov

“Federal prosecutors say they believe operations to interfere in U.S. elections are ongoing and want a court to tightly control how evidence gathered by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III about Internet trolling in 2016 is shared with a Russian company accused of helping to mislead American voters. … The filing seeking a protective order for documents came in proceedings […]

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Amid ‘Russiagate’ Hysteria, What Are the Facts? We must end this Russophobic insanity

Jack Matlock file photo, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

(Jack F. Matlock Jr. – June 2, 2018) Jack F. Matlock Jr., Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991, is the author of Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended and Superpower Illusions: How Myths and False Ideologies Led America Astray-And How to Return to Reality. [Short Version: thenation.com/article/amid-russiagate-hysteria-what-are-the-facts/] [Longer version: jackmatlock.com/2018/06/musings-russiagate-hysteria/#more-982] Whom the gods would destroy, […]

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NEWSLINK: “See Which Facebook Ads Russians Targeted to People Like You” – New York Times/Keith Collins

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“Congress last week released thousands of Facebook ads linked to Russia that ran through the 2016 presidential election, the most comprehensive look to date at the misinformation campaign mounted on the social network. Choose from the options below to see which ads were targeted to people like you or those you know, down to age, location and interests. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “Don’t ‘overdo’ it online, if you fear the fuzz; A linguist explains the messy science that fuels Russia’s anti-extremism policing” – Meduza

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

“The number of ‘extremist’ crimes committed in Russia has been growing for the past several years. According to the ‘Sova’ analytical center, police launched 563 extremism investigations in 2016 and 858 new cases in 2017. Most of the suspects in these investigations are ordinary Internet users who have expressed their political views on social media. Dozens of these people have […]

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UKRAINELINK: “With influence activities exposed, Kremlin acts even more boldly – Estonian intel chief” – UNIAN

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“The fact that Russian influence operations were thrust into the public limelight with revelations of Moscow’s interference with U.S. elections did not deter the Kremlin; on the contrary – it takes pride in it, according to Mikk Marran, Director General of the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service. From the Kremlin’s perspective, influence operations are ‘cheap, reliable and essential,’ Marran wrote ….” […]

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Kremlin Spokesman Still Uses Telegram Despite Ban

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 26, 2018) Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he still uses the Telegram messaging service despite the state regulator’s efforts to block it from being accessible in the country. Regulator Roskomnadzor began enforcing a court ordered ban on Telegram on April 16 after the messaging app refused to grant the Russian security services access to […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Silicon Valley Giants Face a Test in Russia; Russian censors are going after Telegram, but the pressure is on Amazon, Google and Facebook too” – Bloomberg/Leonid Bershidsky

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“The Russian authorities’ first experiment with blocking a popular messenger application — Telegram — is not working out so far. The web censorship agency, Roskomnadzor, has blocked millions of internet addresses to beat Telegram into submission, but it’s still widely available even without any bypass mechanisms, while numerous legitimate sites have experienced downtime. … Russian social networks have exploded with […]

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RUSSIALINK: Interfax: “Int’l rules of conduct needed to prevent situations like blocking of Russian media outlets’ Facebook accounts – Nikiforov”

File Photo of UN Building with Flags

MOSCOW. April 5 (Interfax) – Russia will insist that the United Nations adopt an international convention to lay down rules of conduct on the Internet and deal with the illegal blocking of online resources, Russian Communications and Mass Media Minister Nikolai Nikiforov said on Thursday. “Our foreign colleagues, above all American, continue to exhibit their customary practice of double standards. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “When does Russian propaganda work – and when does it backfire? Here’s what we found.” – Washington Post/Leonid Peisakhin, Arturas Rozenas

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“Assuming that Russia knows how its propaganda affects its audience, we might be able to figure out what it was trying to do in the U.S. election. If Russia targeted voters predisposed toward Trump, trying to motivate them to vote, that would suggest its goal was to help him get elected. But if Russia spread its biased messages broadly, that […]

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Defending Digital Democracy

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

Subject: Democracy’s Front-Line Defenders Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2018 From: Eric Rosenbach <erosenbach@belfercenter.hks.harvard.edu> Defending Digital Democracy America’s enemies aren’t resting. Neither are we. I hope you’ll be in touch with me with thoughts about how we can strengthen our efforts to defend democracy. Warm regards, Eric Rosenbach Co-Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University Director, Defending Digital […]

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House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence: Russia Investigation

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence March 12, 2018 Russia Investigation [PDF: intelligence.house.gov/uploadedfiles/ hpsci_russia_investigation_one_page_summary.pdf ] Overview Following a more than yearlong, bipartisan investigation into Russia active measures targeting the 2016 U.S. election, the House Intelligence Committee has completed a draft report of 150+ pages, with 600+ citations. The draft report addresses, in detail, each of the questions within the agreed […]

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NEWSLINK: “We’re All Russian Bots Now; Americans don’t need help from Moscow to tear each other apart on social media” – Politico/Howard Axelrod

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“… To call us all unwitting pawns isn’t fair, of course, as there’s no grand conspiracy at work here. Just an ongoing degradation of public discourse, which poses an ongoing and deepening threat to democracy. …”

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NEWSLINK: “State Dept. Was Granted $120 Million to Fight Russian Meddling. It Has Spent $0” – New York Times/GARDINER HARRIS

State Department Building and U.S. Flag

“… not one of the 23 analysts working in the department’s Global Engagement Center — which has been tasked with countering Moscow’s disinformation campaign — speaks Russian, and a department hiring freeze has hindered efforts to recruit the computer experts needed to track the Russian efforts. …”

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NEWSLINK: “On Russia, we need more reason and less frenzy” – Washington Post/Katrina vanden Heuvel

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“… Finding a way back from the brink won’t be easy, but less hysteria and more reason would be a useful first step. … Those who care about our democracy should be particularly wary of stoking a new Cold War. Worsening relations only feed the worst forces on both sides – militaries expand, the space for dissent closes, nationalist fervor […]

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Russian interference in the virtual world is not the problem; If there were no Russian “influence operations” in the virtual world, no disinformation campaign spearheaded by Russian bots and trolls, would the western world look much different today?

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

(opendemocracy.net – Tom Junes – February 22, 2018) [Text with links opendemocracy.net/od-russia/tom-junes/russian-interference-in-virtual-world-is-not-problem] Tom Junes is a historian and post-doctoral researcher focusing on protest movements in eastern Europe. He is a member of the Human and Social Studies Foundation Sofia and currently a visiting fellow at European University Institute in Florence, Italy. He is the author of Student Politics in Communist […]

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NEWSLINK: “A So-Called Expert’s Uneasy Dive Into the Trump-Russia Frenzy; Is it possible to express skepticism about the impact of Kremlin interference in the 2016 election without the Internet turning you into a pro-Trump propagandist?” – The New Yorker/Adrian Chen

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“… The thing is, I don’t really want to be an expert on the Internet Research Agency and Russian online propaganda. I agree with my colleague Masha Gessen that the whole issue has been blown out of proportion. …”

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NEWSLINK: “The Russian government blocks Navalny’s website, as Instagram caves to the censor’s demands and YouTube wavers” – Meduza

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“When the dust finally settled, the morning after Valentine’s Day, it was Instagram – not YouTube – that had complied with orders from Russia’s federal censor to delete content flagged as a privacy violation by a court in Ust-Labinsky. On February 9, Instagram was given three weekdays to delete 14 posts uploaded by a self-described escort who calls herself ‘Nastya […]

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NEWSLINK: “Teaching Activities for: ‘Russia Sees Midterm Elections as Chance to Sow Fresh Discord, Intelligence Chiefs Warn'” – New York Times/The Learning Network/Caroline Crosson Gilpin

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“… Russia is using fake accounts on social media — many of them bots — to spread disinformation, the officials said. European elections are being targeted, too, and the attacks were not likely to end this year, they warned. …”

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NEWSLINK: “How Twitter Bots and Trump Fans Made #ReleaseTheMemo Go Viral” – Politico/MOLLY K. MCKEW

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“Russian bots and their American allies gamed social media to put a flawed intelligence document atop the political agenda. That should alarm us.”  

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NEWSWATCH: “PUTIN’S POSTMODERN WAR WITH THE WEST” – The Wilson Quarterly/Patrick Babiracki

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“It may not look like war, but perhaps it should. Russia’s interference in American democracy proves that popular conception of the term needs to be updated – and failure to do could increase U.S. susceptibility.” Click here for: “PUTIN’S POSTMODERN WAR WITH THE WEST” – The Wilson Quarterly/Patrick Babiracki  

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NEWSLINK: “Eric Schmidt Says Google News Will ‘Engineer’ Russian Propaganda Out of the Feed; ‘It’s basically RT and Sputnik,’ he said on Saturday.” – Motherboard/Justin Ling

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

“Eric Schmidt, Executive Chariman of Alphabet, says the company is working to ferret out Russian propaganda from Google News after facing criticism that Kremlin-owned media sites had been given plum placement on the search giant’s news and advertising platforms. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Independent Journalists in Russia Will Have to Live Without Their Western Role Models; The Western media’s controversial reporting is affecting independent journalism in Russia” – Moscow Times/ Oleg Kashin

File Photo of Oleg Kashin Outdoors with Boat and Water in Background

“The Western press has discovered that structures close to the Kremlin bought shares in Facebook and Twitter – obviously with far-reaching political designs. * * * At some point, quantity becomes quality, and the Western press has already published so many inaccurate, exaggerated, and knowingly untrue things about this country that the only Russians who seriously consider Milner a Kremlin […]

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Interfax: Mirroring measures against international media meddling in Russia’s internal affairs may be applied to specific social media – State Duma Deputy Speaker Tolstoy

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

MOSCOW. Nov 12 (Interfax) – Russia’s ‘mirroring’ measures against international mass media interfering with internal Russian affairs may also be applied to some social networking websites, State Duma Deputy Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy (United Russia) said. “Apart from formal participation in the capital – that is, equity holding – or in the functioning of a media in Russian territory, there is […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia, Trump, and the 2016 U.S. Election; Charges of foreign power interference in the U.S. presidential election have raised grave national security concerns and touched off multiple federal inquiries that could drag on for months” – Council on Foreign Relations/ Jonathan Masters

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NEWSLINK: “Kremlin Cash Behind Billionaire’s Twitter and Facebook Investments” – New York Times/ Jesse Drucker

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov » Read more

Roskomnadzor not preparing coercive measures against U.S. media, social networks – head of agency

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

MOSCOW. Nov 1 (Interfax) – The Russian telecommunications watchdog Roskomnadzor is currently not preparing any coercive measures against the U.S. media, including CNN and social networks, Roskomnadzor head Alexander Zharov said. “Speaking about now, we are working within the legal framework and we are not preparing any specific actions on the U.S. media and U.S. social networks,” he told reporters […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Michael @McFaul: I applaud @Twitter for making this decision ….”

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

(Michael McFaul – Twitter – @McFaul – October 27, 2017) “I applaud @Twitter for making this decision. [re: ban on RT and Sputnik advertising]” [embedded live feed of tweet should load below; or click here to jump directly to tweet] I applaud @twitter for this decision: Announcement: RT and Sputnik Advertising https://t.co/QnCHBEckD8 — Michael McFaul (@McFaul) October 27, 2017

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Twitter Bans Ads From Two Russian Media Companies

Twitter Logo and Faint World Map

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Oct. 26, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/twitter-bans-rt-sputnik-russia-us-election-meddling/28817851.html) Twitter has banned advertisements from the accounts of state-owned Russian media outlets Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik, citing assertions by U.S. intelligence agencies that these networks interfered with last year’s U.S. presidential election. The San Francisco-based social network said in an unsigned […]

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