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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Ellen Mickiewicz: Re: “New York Times on RT and YouTube”

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

Subject: New York Times on RT and YouTube Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2017 From: Ellen Mickiewicz <ellen.mickiewicz@duke.edu> New York Times on RT and YouTube Ellen Mickiewicz James R. Shepley Professor of Public Policy and Political Science Duke University In the New York Times of October 24, 2017, a front-page story repeats some of the errors about the U.S. audience for […]

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NEWSWATCH: “[Re: European Values]” – Mark Galeotti on Russia (facebook page)

Europe Map

(Mark Galeotti on Russia – facebook page – facebook.com/markgaleottionrussia/ – Oct. 21, 2017) [embedded live feed of facebook post should load below, or click here to go to post on facebook, with accompanying comments]  

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NEWSWATCH: “[Re: European Values]” – Fred Weir (facebook profile)

Europe Map

(Fred Weir – facebook profile – https://www.facebook.com/fred.weir – Oct. 21, 2017) [embedded live feed of abbreviated facebook post should load below; or click here for direct link to full post on facebook, with accompanying comments]

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NEWSLINK: “A Russian Take on ‘The Americans’ Scares Moscow Liberals; The political conversation in Putin’s Russia increasingly revolves around cinematic versions of reality.” – Bloomberg/ Leonid Bershidsky

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov » Read more

NEWSLINKS DIGEST: More American tales of Russiagate

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

  These Americans Were Tricked Into Working For Russia. They Say They Had No Idea. Buzzfeed.com October 17, 2017   Facebook admits Russia agents used Messenger to disrupt U.S. presidential election Recode.net October 18, 2017 In attempt to sow fear, Russian trolls paid for self-defense classes for African Americans CNN.com October 18, 2017 Trump Campaign Staffers Pushed Russian Propaganda Days […]

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NEWSLINK: “If Russia can create fake ‘Black Lives Matter’ accounts, who will next?” – Washington Post/ Anne Applebaum

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Navalny Fund Publishes Retractions in Usmanov Libel Suit

Alisher Usmanov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 11, 2017) The Anti-Corruption Foundation has complied with a court order to publish retractions related to a video critical of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Foundation founder and opposition leader Alexei Navalny was sued for libel in April by Uzbekistan-born Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov over allegations of bribery. Navalny is currently serving a 20-day jail […]

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NEWSWATCH: “A Bernie Sanders campaign veteran advises a surging opposition movement in Russia” – Washington Post/ Andrew Roth

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

“Vitali Shkliarov, a 41-year-old political operative born in Belarus, speaks the gospel of Bernie Sanders in the style of a Silicon Valley executive. Technology, he says, is a key to access …. The idea got a test drive in Moscow’s recent municipal elections … the veteran of the Sanders and … Obama campaigns sees it as part of a worldwide movement. * […]

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Washington Post coverage of Russiagate

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

October 8, 2017 The notorious Kremlin-linked ‘troll farm’ and the Russians trying to take it down https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/the-notorious-kremlin-linked-troll-farm-and-the-russians-trying-to-take-it-down/2017/10/06/c8c4b160-a919-11e7-9a98-07140d2eed02_story.html?utm_term=.d27065c3abb0 October 9, 2017 Google uncovers Russian-bought ads on YouTube, Gmail and other platforms https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/10/09/google-uncovers-russian-bought-ads-on-youtube-gmail-and-other-platforms/?utm_term=.1314cf8ad2f0 October 9, 2017 Russian operatives used Twitter and Facebook to target veterans and military personnel, study says https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/10/09/russian-operatives-used-twitter-and-facebook-to-target-veterans-and-military-personnel-study-says/?utm_term=.313a59a7b68d  

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NEWSLINK: “Facebook can’t protect elections on its own” – Washington Post editorial

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“… Existing federal regulations place stricter requirements on political ads on radio and television than those on the Internet. There’s a reason for that: The use of online advertising in political campaigns has spiked in prominence in only the past few years, before most rules governing election spending were written. As a result, Facebook had no legal responsibility to let […]

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NEWSLINK: “From free info exchange to Kremlin tool; Russia’s homegrown Web; The Soviet Union had a working Internet surprisingly early, and its isolation and highly educated users have kept it separate even in a well-connected world.” – Le Monde Diplomatique/ Kevin Limonier

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“The Ukrainian government blocked access to a number of Russian online services this May, including search engine Yandex and Facebook equivalent VKontakte. Kiev accuses these services, widely used in Ukraine, of sharing data with Russian intelligence, especially the personal data of soldiers fighting separatists in the Donbass region. This measure stopped millions from accessing their favourite sites, and showed the […]

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NEWSLINK: “How Russian trolls tried to organize anti-immigrant rallies, and more;   Are Russia’s ‘Friends’ Hiding in Your Facebook Feed?” – The Nation/ Bob Dreyfuss

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“All of a sudden, Facebook—and perhaps Twitter and Google, too—find themselves at the center of the Russiagate investigation. You can’t say you didn’t see this coming. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Exclusive: Russians Impersonated Real American Muslims to Stir Chaos on Facebook and Instagram” – TheDailyBeast

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

“Kremlin trolls stole the identity of an authentic U.S. Muslim organization-first to smear John McCain and Hillary Clinton, then to sing her praises. …”  

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NEWSWATCH: “The Kremlin creeps into Germany; The far-right AfD was buoyed by social-media campaigns of the kind Russia has used elsewhere” – Washington Post Editorial

Map of Germany

“The German party Alternative for Germany, or AfD, is anti-immigration, anti-Europe-bailout and very anti-Angela Merkel, the chancellor who was just reelected to a fourth term. Founded only four years ago in protest of European bailouts for Greece and riding the backlash to refugees flooding Germany, the AfD reaped 12.6 percent of the vote … and won a place for the first time […]

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Big Data Convert Channels Big Brother to Take Russia’s Pulse

Central Bank of Russia file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova – August 22, 2017) Raw numbers no longer cut it for Russia’s central bank in its effort to keep up with the economy. Instead, the man running its research and forecasting wants to know how Russians really feel by mining “big data,” gathered from social media and online stores. The Bank of Russia has […]

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New U.S. Website Aims To Track Russian ‘Disinformation’ On Twitter

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

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Aug. 3, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/us-pro-democracy-group-german-marshall-fund-launches-website-tracking-russian-disinformation-twitter/28656024.html) WASHINGTON — A pro-democracy group has launched a new website to monitor and highlight what it says is Russian-backed disinformation on Twitter. The site, called Hamilton 68, which was launched on August 2, is a project of the Alliance for Securing Democracy, […]

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Bill on multi-million fines for slander on social networks may pass State Duma in fall – Isayev

Russian State Duma Building file photo

IZHEVSK. July 26 (Interfax) – The State Duma will debate bills introducing increased fines for the dissemination of illegal content and slander on social networking sites in the fall session, Andrei Isayev, first deputy head of the United Russia faction on legislative activities, said. “At the beginning of the fall session, they [the authors of legislative initiatives] will insist on […]

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