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Washington Post: Driver of Non-Checking Information. Part 2
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Washington Post: Driver of Non-Checking Information. Part 2


WASHINGTON – March 6, 2019

Part 1:

The main theme of the American media right now is the fight against Russian trolls, that is, internet users who supposedly try to interfere in the political life of the United States.

"Since April, Russia has spent thousands of dollars amassing a ‘troll army’ to torment American social networking and news sites, per a pair of stories that ran on Buzzfeed this week," a Washington Post article said on June 4, 2014.

We can say this was the beginning of an active phase of the information war in light of the events in Ukraine and the Donbass war.

"They're funded by an online marketing firm with very distant ties to the Kremlin. And they are, according to Buzzfeed, operating in the Post's comment section — as well as the New York Times’, CNN's and the Huffington Post's," continues the WP with reference to BuzzFeed, the chief expert on Russian trolls.

By the way, Buzzfeed defined the so-called Russian trolls. What was it? That's right, first is the Russians, and second is the trolls, that is, "commenters who engage in off-topic provocation for no apparent reason besides giving moderators like Beth and Julia headaches."

Trolls cover topics like Barack Obama's presidency, events in Ukraine, and LGBT rights. Their parallel, according to the Washington Post, is "the US State Department's Digital Outreach Team, which dedicates itself largely to trolling jihadists in Arabic, Punjabi, Somali and Urdu-language forums, as well as on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube."

Incidentally, with regard to the infringement of the rights of the LGBT community, another outlet, the Verge said the Russian trolls pretended to be a Christian organization that helps fight dependence on masturbation. So they collected information about young American recruits to blackmail them later, as stated in the report of the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI).

According to service employees, the attackers are related to the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA). This strange detail was part of a campaign to expand political influence on social networks. It is also reported that the trolls have created a false page for the Christian community. Administrators called on them to ask for help.

The report shows three posts: One was posted on a fake LGBT page, the other two on a fake religious group "Army of Jesus." "You can't hold hands with God when you are masturbating. Use our hotline if you need help," one poster reported.

According to the official document, because of this, the organization's staff searched for incriminating evidence. While working, they "helped create hotlines for people struggling with sexual behavior, creating the possibility of blackmailing or manipulating these people in the future."

It is also reported that the campaign was supported on other social networks — Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

USA Really, which is also considered to be Russian trolls, tried to figure out what Americans are so afraid of and who these "trolls" actually are.

Last year, Facebook. Inc banned hundreds of pages and accounts that, according to the company, fraudulently filled the site with biased political content. The investigation revealed most of them are users from the United States, not from Russia.

The company announced the blocking of 559 pages and 251 accounts, which were mainly controlled by Americans. Among others, independent news sites with millions of subscribers were included in the ban list.

Facebook’s head of Cybersecurity Strategy Nathaniel Gleicher stated a large portion of suspicious activity on the website seems to come from inside the country; dealers trying to benefit from political differences and not from state agents.

The removal of fakes is part of Facebook's ongoing campaign against what it called "coordinated non-authentic behavior," which in this case represents the use of multiple fake accounts to distribute questionable content by artificially inflating its popularity.

In July, the company removed 32 pages that reportedly had signs of belonging to the Russian campaign of influence, and in August, another 652 that were reportedly controlled by Iran.

But Gleicher noted that "the bulk of suspicious activity is now motivated by money, not politics," and that much of it comes from the US.

"One of the most common types of spam messages is offering to buy fraudulent products such as fake sunglasses or tools for weight loss," Gleicher said. "But we look at many types of spam differently today."

He continued: "The people behind this create a lot of pages using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names. They post clickbait messages on these pages to attract people to websites that are completely separate from Facebook and look like legitimate but are actually ad farms."

Where once such spammers could use "natural disasters or celebrity gossip," they are now "increasingly using sensational political content — regardless of political bias — to build audiences and drive traffic to their websites."

This suggests Americans are trying to replicate the success of the Russian election intervention program to conduct their own biased campaigns, whether it's spreading ideology or just a thirst for money.

Bans are likely to inflame the debate about political bias in Silicon Valley, and the key figures of the American right accuse technology companies of deliberately suppressing conservative views.

Facebook declined to comment on the political affiliation of the pages it blocked, naming mostly left-wing groups such as "Snowflakes," "Reasonable People Unite," and the progressive news site "Reverb Press."

However, Facebook also removed Right Wing News, a venerable conservative media brand founded in 2001, which had 3.1 million subscribers on the social network. Recently, the group spread false information about Christine Blasie Ford, who accused Brett Kavanaugh of attempted rape.

Right Wing News founder John Hawkins said he no longer controls the Facebook group, saying the social network is "looking for any excuse to get rid of conservative pages."

Facebook has repeatedly resisted calls to ban users or companies from fake news posting, instead deciding to hide it from users by completely banning only hate speech or spam.

Gleicher acknowledged "unreliable" political campaigns are "often indistinguishable from law-abiding political debates," and added that banned sites have been blocked for their behavior rather than content.

In addition, Facebook blocked 66 profiles and pages managed by the company "Cambridge Analytica of Russia," which claims to sell the data of Russian users.

As for the fear of Americans being used by third-party foreign competitors, as well as the fear of Russia's meddling in the life of the United States, the Washington Post made it clear that the US is giving Russia's trolling team too much credit. In his article, WP journalist Philip Bump says that some hackers from the so-called troll factory "gained access to the computer network of the Democratic National Committee and the email account of Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta. Material stolen from those sources was released through WikiLeaks first in July and then about a month before the election. Day after day during October 2016, new files stolen from Podesta were released, frequently giving new ammunition to Clinton's opponents, including then-candidate Donald Trump."

Frank Augstein

"I love WikiLeaks!" Trump declared in October, and for good reason: In short order, those leaks dominated media attention, distracting from allegations of improper sexual conduct by Trump that were slowly emerging in the wake of the release of the "Access Hollywood" tape. It was really only later that month, with former FBI director James B. Comey's announcement that the FBI had obtained new emails related to Clinton's personal server, that attention paid to WikiLeaks — to that material apparently stolen by Russian actors — was overtaken.

In addition, according to the journalist, the Internet Research Agency (IRA) created fake accounts on social networks and bought ads on Facebook to disrupt and influence the political conversation in the United States.

Lyne Lucien

The situation escalated after Donald Trump's statement to stop any investigation into interference in the 2016 election by Special Counsel Robert S. Muller III against the IRA and related individuals

In addition, Trump has repeatedly stated that the leading newspapers of the country - the New York Times and the Washington Post - "will both be out of business in 7 years," for spreading fake news.

Prior to that, Twitter blocked more than 70 million fake and suspicious accounts in order to reduce the spread of false information on the platform. According to experts, the Twitter campaign is gaining momentum against internet bots, despite that it could lead to a decrease in the number of users. According to the Twitter Vice President Harvey Case, "free expression doesn't really mean much if people don't feel safe."

The Washington Post article noted that Trump continues his struggle with the media instead of trying to understand his country in relation to Russian meddling in the elections.

Trump has repeatedly stated that the majority of American media is extremely biased against him and his administration, publishing false or fictitious information. In March 2017, he called the New York Times, CNN, NBC, CBS and ABC "enemies of the American people."

In addition, the Head of the White house criticized the Washington Post for references to anonymous sources.

Another common idea is that in its meddling, Russia used the famous game Pokémon Go, in which users, moving in the real world, catch virtual creatures. According to CNN, this concerns the campaign Don't Shoot Us, whose accounts were registered in social networks.

It is reported that the campaign organizers used these platforms to cover numerous cases of police violence against African Americans.

CNN explained that all videos of the campaign on YouTube referred to the website registered in Illinois. In turn, links from this site led to an account in Tumblr, and that in July 2016 a competition for the game Pokémon Go was announced. Participants were sent to the places of incidents of police violence, and also offered to call their Pokémon by the names of the victims of African Americans. In particular, the material that announced the competition presented a Pokémon named Eric Garner — a black NY resident who died in police custody.

What does Russia seem to have to do with this? CNN has "evidence" of its involvement in this so-called "pokemongate": According to them, the campaign’s account on Facebook was associated with the same Internet Research Agency, which the channel calls a "Pro-Kremlin" structure.

Fear of "Russian trolls" reached Hollywood in September, when the famous American actor Morgan Freeman accused Russia of attacking America's democracy. He himself, incidentally, starred as the US President in the movie Deep Impact. He later played God in Bruce Almighty, where he gave the hero played by Jim Carrey unlimited power. Now it seems Freeman has given such omnipotence to Russian hackers.

Nevertheless, these tricks of the American establishment don't seem to work particularly well on western citizens: More than 40% of French, German, and Polish inhabitants are confident in the meddling of the US, and not Russia, in elections in other countries. This is evidenced by a sociological survey conducted by the French sociological company IFop.

Now we're finally getting to the main point. First, communicating your point of view is not meddling. What is contrary to the views and beliefs of some is respected by others. In addition, we live in an era of information wars, where any word can be regarded as a political move aimed at disarming the enemy. Secondly, as a consequence, there is a substitution of concepts in the world.

People are afraid to get out of their comfort zone, so much that they're ready to destroy everything. They are ready to expel and persecute professors who express their point of view, they are ready not to listen to experts, because they believe the world smells of roses and is inhabited by unicorns. All who try to prove the opposite are ranked as enemies.

Hence, there is meddling, or rather an artificially contrived action. In the case of the United States, it’s to hide the real state of affairs in their country, from the endless battles between political forces to their own blatant interference in the elections and the lives of other countries, as we see in the example of Venezuela now.

The so-called "mission drift" as a way to influence consciousness is a good psychological technique of social programming for a person and society as a whole. This is one of the methods of changing and reprogramming the consciousness of society for those needs that are beneficial to individuals who have their own goals, in most cases aimed at obtaining any benefits from society.

In this scheme, you can conditionally divide the whole of society into 2 groups. The first group includes a small portion of people called the elite. In turn, the second group includes the rest, which is the basis of the entire planet’s population and which, according to the elite, should be managed to maintain its power and wealth.

So, what is the concepts' substitution? It is a psychological method of influencing the human consciousness, where the terms fixed in the consciousness and carrying certain emotional reactions are replaced by other words or terms to which society is still neutral. In the information space, the new term used soon disappears from circulation as "unacceptable" or "offensive" and is replaced by another definition. The purpose of such manipulation is to divert the essence of the problem from its real designation, shaping public opinion so that society accepts all necessary social changes or actions humbly and without indignation as the norm of everyday life.

Here we see that modern information appeals to feelings and instincts, not to the mind — the ability to distinguish truth from lies. People without a mind can be compared to children without parents, who are easily deceived and exploited by the media.

As a result, a "military invasion" becomes a "peacekeeping mission." And while the real aggressor carries out military actions and genocides, it looks like a peacekeeping mission of freedom fighters for democracy.

If we understand war as organized violence and destruction, then in this sense the Third World War has already been underway for a long time.

Every year, more than 20 million abortions are performed. Perhaps even more. There was no such mass destruction even in the years of the most terrible wars of the past. In addition, there are also cataclysms, terrorist attacks, local wars, suicides, which sometimes exceed mortality due to diseases. Isn't this the Third World War?

How can a war go on in peacetime? Is it possible that in peacetime the population is rapidly declining, and the well-being and culture of the people is falling? How can rudeness, cynicism, prostitution, and the exploitation of others for their own profit flourish in peacetime? How can politicians put their wealth at stake more than the people’s interests? All this comes only during wartime, the time of survival...

The other side of this manipulation is the "substitution of images." So that it's clearer what will be discussed further, it is necessary to give a definition of this term.

Substitution of images is a socio-psychological method for reprogramming consciousness in order to introduce or replace in the human mind a real representation of the essence of the object or situation. This technique works well together with the substitution of the concept and has the greatest impact on uneducated people or those who do not have sufficient knowledge in a particular area. As a result of complex influences, manipulators have the ability to replace, for instance, the image of a good man with the image of an inveterate scoundrel in society’s mind, creating a variety of fictional stories that never happened.

The main sources of psychological influence and the formation of public opinion are:

  • Media (TV, newspapers, internet, radio);
  • Movies (movies and TV series, cartoons);
  • Authoritative opinions (opinion leaders or specialists);
  • Music (songs and clips);
  • Computer games;
  • History;

Each of these influential sources together successfully cope with the tasks set before them and are perfectly segmented both by age and by ideological characteristics, capturing the consciousness of a person from a very young age, forming and educating a person in it for the sake of the small elite.

In this regard, returning to the conversation about the spread of lies by the Washington Post or other more or less well-known media, it's necessary to think first about what is in fact happening. What and whose goals are the media pursuing when they write more lies? Why do some countries regard the terms as one thing, others imply another, third — the third? When each person begins to understand the essence of the issue, perhaps then people will become a little closer to the real truth.

Author: USA Really