Russia's Web Brigades: The Misinformation Wars

Discussion in 'World Events' started by joepistole, Sep 4, 2016.

  1. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    For years now Russia's troll army has been polluting the web with Russian propaganda. This misinformation campaign is huge. Russia has created "troll factories". Even our modest Sciforums has a resident Russian troll. They pretend to be people they are not, and they are NEVER critical of Russia or the Putin. In fact if they write something critical of their employers, they are fined.

    Controlling Russian state owned media isn't enough. Russia employs brigades of people to pollute the internet with misinformation 24 hours every day. And they react aggressively when Western sources point them out. They don't like being exposed. The lurk and thrive in the darkest corners of the web.

    The best way to fight these deceivers is with the truth. They need to be exposed for who and what they are. Apparently Russian Web warriors are paid significantly more if they can write English. Below is an excerpt describing the experiences of Russian troll factory worker. I suggest you read the complete article.

    Who would have thought it? Russian troll armies invade the internet.

    Russia's Web Brigades

    Just after 9pm each day, a long line of workers files out of 55 Savushkina Street, a modern four-storey office complex with a small sign outside that reads “Business centre”. Having spent 12 hours in the building, the workers are replaced by another large group, who will work through the night.

    The nondescript building has been identified as the headquarters of Russia’s “troll army”, where hundreds of paid bloggers work round the clock to flood Russian internet forums, social networks and the comments sections of western publications with remarks praising the president, Vladimir Putin, and raging at the depravity and injustice of the west.
    The Guardian spoke to two former employees of the troll enterprise, one of whom was in a department running fake blogs on the social network LiveJournal, and one who was part of a team that spammed municipal chat forums around Russia with pro-Kremlin posts. Both said they were employed unofficially and paid cash-in-hand.

    They painted a picture of a work environment that was humourless and draconian, with fines for being a few minutes late or not reaching the required number of posts each day. Trolls worked in rooms of about 20 people, each controlled by three editors, who would check posts and impose fines if they found the words had been cut and pasted, or were ideologically deviant.

    The LiveJournal blogger, who spent two months working at the centre until mid-March, said she was paid 45,000 roubles (£520, $790) a month, to run a number of accounts on the site. There was no contract - the only document she signed was a non-disclosure form. She was ordered not to tell her friends about the job, nor to add any of them to the social media accounts she would run under pseudonyms.

    “We had to write ‘ordinary posts’, about making cakes or music tracks we liked, but then every now and then throw in a political post about how the Kiev government is fascist, or that sort of thing,” she said.

    Scrolling through one of the LiveJournal accounts she ran, the pattern is clear. There are posts about “Europe’s 20 most beautiful castles” and “signs that show you are dating the wrong girl”, interspersed with political posts about Ukraine or suggesting that the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is corrupt.

    he trolls were firmly instructed that there should never be anything bad written about the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) or the Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR), and never anything good about the Ukrainian government.

    “I would go home at the end of the day and see all the same news items on the television news. It was obvious that the decisions were coming from somewhere,” said Marat. Many people have accused Russian television of ramping up propaganda over the past 18 months in its coverage of Ukraine, so much so that the EU even put Dmitry Kiselev, an opinionated television host and director of a major news agency, on its sanctions list.

    After two months of working in the troll agency, Marat began to feel he was losing his sanity, and decided he had to leave. From the snatched conversations over coffee, he noted that the office was split roughly 50/50 between people who genuinely believed in what they were doing, and those who thought it was stupid but wanted the money. Occasionally, he would notice people changing on the job.

    “Of course, if every day you are feeding on hate, it eats away at your soul. You start really believing in it. You have to be strong to stay clean when you spend your whole day submerged in dirt,” he said.

    The most prestigious job in the agency is to be an English-language troll, for which the pay is 65,000 roubles. Last year, the Guardian’s readers’ editor said he believed there was an “orchestrated pro-Kremlin campaign” on the newspaper’s comment boards.

    Should Russia's troll army have the honesty to identify themselves as such? And how will this state organized and funded operation affect the internet? What are the implications? What if anything should be done about it?
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2016
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  3. CptBork Robbing the Shalebridge Cradle Valued Senior Member

    He might be one of the only 23 or so Germans whose parents were never dumped there with the rest of Stalin's trash and who nonetheless still thinks Russia is the most awesomest place in the universe, but the dude said repeatedly that he's not Russian, and he says that everything you say about Russia is a lie, so I kinda trust him...
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  5. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    So you know who this web brigade member is? Actually, what he says is everything I say and everything reported in the free press i.e the Western press is NATO propaganda and everything Putin says and everything published by Putin's state owned media is true.

    If you want to believe whatever Putin wants you to believe, so be it. It's your right. But I don't think most share your beliefs or desires. I'm not a fan of 2 bit dictators. If you want to live there, you should go there. The article I referenced said they pay about a thousand dollars a month for English speaking trolls. That's big money in Russia.

    I guess you missed the part about brigade members being given fake identities. This particular brigade member early on wrote English like a Russian and not a German. I married a German national. I'm very familiar with Germans. He's not German. He also isn't a scientist as he claims to be. He doesn't believe in the scientific method.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016
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  7. CptBork Robbing the Shalebridge Cradle Valued Senior Member

    Right, so if he says it is so, why wouldn't he be telling the truth? Liars don't repeat their lies ad infinitum, they always end up confessing after you confront them on it two or three times.

    You have always known me here as a staunch friend of Putin's, and of leaders and master races in general who gobble up weak, defenseless peoples' territory to create false sensations of national pride and hide the embarassing tendency for stunted cerebral development within their own population. Take that, Yankee Doodle!

    It's big money for sure, but I'm just not into baggy-eyed hookers.

    Like I said, there are roughly 23 or so Germans with legally German parents who think Russia is an awesome country that should be emulated at every opportunity. I have absolutely no difficulty believing that he's one of them, and he said so himself just to confirm it.

    Clearly you've never been to Russia yourself, so in your imperial Amerikan arrogance it's no surprise that you're unable to appreciate the wistful joys of service with a snarl.
  8. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Do you really believe that? If you do I have a few bridges to sell you. If it were that easy, the criminal justice system would be much more streamlined and there wouldn't be a need for lie detectors or criminal trials.



    Yes, you have said it, you believe everything Putin or his agents tell you. So be it.

  9. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    Not to worry, HRC has a plan to deal with those pesky Ruskies:

    "Toward the end of her speech, Hillary really bares her fangs and gives us an indication of what life is going to be like under the Clinton Restoration. While claiming that she’ll only use military force as “a last resort” – the typical rhetoric of warmongers – she hints at what the future holds:

    “You’ve seen reports. Russia’s hacked into a lot of things. China’s hacked into a lot of things. Russia even hacked into the Democratic National Committee, maybe even some state election systems. So, we’ve got to step up our game. Make sure we are well defended and able to take the fight to those who go after us.

    “As President, I will make it clear, that the United States will treat cyber attacks just like any other attack. We will be ready with serious political, economic and military responses.”

    If that isn’t a veiled threat to attack Russia in retaliation for their alleged “cyber-attacks” on the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton Foundation, then what is she trying to say?

    This should scare the bejesus out of “liberals” and others on the left who have been scammed into jumping on the Clinton bandwagon in the name of stopping Trump. Are we really going to start World War III in order to avenge the honor of Debbie Wasserman Schultz? Given how problematic attribution is in the case of cyber-attacks, this threat of “military action” makes Dr. Strangelove look sane."


    They just don't make 'em any better than that.
  10. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Yeah, you have to draw a line in the sand. Not drawing that line, i.e. appeasement, resulted in WW II.
  11. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    There, there, go back to sleep: It's ok, the adults were talking about stuff. We'll explain it to you after the election, when your conscious mind wakes up.

    Here's what we'll say, with a glass of milk and a cookie: 1) You have confused "response" with "attack", and are primed to get the willies by years of paranoid wingnut ravings you took seriously - they gave you bad dreams.

    They were just stories, radio rants you half remember, videos you watched when you were tired, revisions of history that snuck up on you and closed the door on the nightmare basement stairs - with you on the wrong side.
    2) When cyber attacks have just been identified as themselves military attacks, cyber response is military response.
    3) The latest story that gave you bad dreams there - the revision source - spends much of their rhetorical effort (the base) attempting to attribute the Iraq invasion to "the Clintons". Because they "laid the groundwork". That's nuts, right? You understand that that's a lunatic talking to you?

    The Iraq War was completely and entirely the planning and doing of the W&Cheney administration, and nobody else. Begin there, rebuild from the ground of fact, redo from start. You still get to have the self - a rightwing, corporate, militarized, MIC friendly, too violent, Israeli coopted misfortune, as a President to rightfully complain about. Just like the lefties and liberals have been saying for thirty years.

    You only lose the addiction. The crazy. The Trump.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016

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