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Big tech funds COVID-19 misinformation, Taliban disinformation we may have missed, and vaccine disinformation networks seize on new requirements
Hoaxlines Disinformation Newsletter #9.13.21
Past article from Hoaxlines addressing the false claims about infertility: Let's Talk About the Vaccines, Menstrual Cycles, and Claims about Fertility
Germany has not stopped using Covid-19 vaccines (Full Fact)
Wireless devices emit large amounts of identifying data that can be easily gathered and analyzed, a new study reveals.
Accounts tweeting pro-Taliban content referred to the Afghan military's actions as needlessly "slaughtering their neighbors."
The Twitter accounts urged the Afghan Special Forces not to be America's "trained dirty creature."
Hoaxlines found references to what happened in Vietnam to suggest that they too would be abandoned or sacrificed. (In a similar vein, both Russia and China have recently claimed the US would likewise desert Ukraine and Taiwan, respectively.)
One noteworthy campaign came in early June 2021.
Much of the content seemed designed to demonize Western troops, especially Americans. One video circulating among pro-Taliban accounts claims to show US soldiers pushing a woman in a "dirty canal."
It's unclear what the video shows.
Networks boosting coronavirus disinformation seize on new vaccine requirements (Hoaxlines)
One response to the new vaccine requirements has been the belief that it is a shift toward authoritarianism despite the lengthy precedent in US history.
Hashtags that have shown signs of inauthentic activity, specifically the kind that creates a false impression that an idea or hashtag is more popular than it is, have a near-constant presence on Twitter. #DictatorBiden began trending shortly after announcing new vaccine requirements. The hashtag almost certainly benefited from inauthentic activity boosting its apparent popularity.
Note: The appearance of a user in the data set does not necessarily indicate nefarious actions and may not even reflect someone participating but rather being discussed by others.
Another hashtag, #FauciLied began trending on Sept 7, 2021. The most popular tweet belonged to Sen Rand Paul. Multiple accounts within that cluster behaved in ways inconsistent with what we expect from authentic accounts. The trend took off based on a story from the Intercept that provided no new information.
Russian-State Controlled Disinformation
An article from Wayne Dupree, “Biden is not fit for office, but he’ll never resign because his handlers won’t allow it,” appeared in Russia Today.
One paragraph reads:
“One hundred years from now, historians will debate how Joe Biden was ever elected president when it was more than evident that he wasn’t up to the job. The Democrats pulled a fast one in getting Biden elected. He has become their Trojan horse as his unelected handlers make decisions that affect the course of this nation. It’s nothing less than a tragedy.”
The Strategic Culture Foundation referred to Biden’s invocation of a vaccine mandate as a “maniacal move of wild desperation.”
The Strategic Culture Foundation is a think-tank that was outed by the State Department, one year ago in August, as an integral part of the Russian propaganda and disinformation ecosystem
“One year ago, humanity had the opportunity to embrace the wisdom of the Great Barrington Declaration to protect the vulnerable while letting society otherwise function. Governments instead chose the path of ignorance and violence.”
Ruptly favorably covered Bolsonaro supporters on the verge of insurrection in Brazil.
Note: Ruptly, a state-controlled outlet filmed live at the US Capitol on Jan 6 and was on-site reporting as Brazil braced for an attempted insurrection.
Ruptly also recorded/reported on women marching in support of the Taliban.
Previously Hoaxlines wrote about the Taliban appearing friendly with Russian Journalists.
While the international community investigated and found a Russian-style missile downed MH17, killing 298 passengers in 2014, Russia denies this.
The article states, “Russia conducted its own investigation and said it had provided the JIT with evidence, including radar data, showing that the plane had been shot down by a Ukrainian Buk missile.” The missile was a Russian Buk.
The drug has not been shown to help treat or prevent Covid.
We also saw portrayals of Russia as a victim, specifically RT. Russian interference in the upcoming German election has already made headlines.
State-controlled outlet TV Zvezda claims that US interference in elections of the Russian Federation was documented.
The official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova stated:
“From the United States, with the use of Internet platforms that are owned and moderated by American Internet monopolies, there are explicit acts, documented, interference in our internal processes - political processes, electoral processes, elections,” the diplomat said on the YouTube channel Solovyov Live.”
Earlier in the week, another article claimed that Russian officials have “irrefutable evidence” of the US election interference in Russia.
Thus far, it appears that a US-based tech company allowing an app that supported Alexei Navalny is what the Kremlin is characterizing as meddling in domestic politics. The White House has yet to comment.
Researchers evaluated 22 fact-checks, including two that were tested in all four countries. Fact-checking reduced belief in misinformation, with most effects still apparent more than 2 wk later. This study was larger scale and more robust than past efforts. That the results are so clear across cultures and locations is welcome news.
Curious about the legality of vaccine mandates? Here’s a thread.
Global Research’s accounts and/or content are still spreading misinformation on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.