Pro-Russian Troll Targets Reader Comments on Western News Website: British Study

A group of British researchers have discovered that parent Kremlin trolls are systematically manipulating the comments section of western news websites to disseminate propaganda and disinformation.

Researchers at Cardiff University said 32 prominent media in 16 countries were targeted, including the British Daily Mail, Daily Express, Times of London, American Fox News, The Washington Post, French newspaper Ruffigaro, and Germany. He states that he has found evidence. Der Spiegel and Die Welt, and La Stampa from Italy.

This study was conducted by the Cardiff University Open Source Communication Analytical Research (Oscar) Program. This program is partially funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth of Development (FCDO) in the United Kingdom.

British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said: Britain is working closely with its international allies to combat the Kremlin trolls lying. “

Researchers have identified 242 news articles with provocative pro-Russian or anti-Western statements. These comments were then fed back into the Russian media and used as the basis for articles on Western public opinion.

Russian reports using headlines such as “The Daily Mail readers say …” and “Spiegel readers think …” suggest that there is widespread support among Western citizens for Russia or President Vladimirputin. I am. These stories spread to an audience in Central and Eastern Europe, especially Bulgaria.

These fake readers’ comments have also been featured on so-called disinformation disinformation “fringe media” and websites, some of which are linked to Russian intelligence by Western security services.

Research team leader Martin Inns said traditional media websites are more sensitive to manipulation than social media platforms.

“Disinformation actors and advertisers are looking for new vulnerabilities in media ecology to exploit as mainstream social media platforms become more vigilant against the risks of influential foreign operations. “Ines said.

He said that many western media websites did not have security measures in place to prevent, deter, or detect such manipulation activities, and trolls could easily switch between personas and identities. Said.

According to research, one of the suspected disinformation accounts has had 69 location changes and 549 renames since it was created last June.

On some comment platforms where other users can vote for posts, researchers have observed that the parent Kremlin’s comments receive an unusually large number of “yes” votes compared to other messages.

Ines said it was “extremely important” for media companies running participatory websites to be more transparent about how they approach disinformation and to be proactive in preventing disinformation.

PA contributed to this report.

Alexander Chan