Since the conflict in Ukraine began, numerous commentators have drawn attention to the blatant weaponization of social media in service of the proxy war. Legions of users on Facebook, Twitter, and other major platforms, many anonymous and recently registered, have relentlessly propounded pro-intervention, pro-Ukraine propaganda, viciously attacking all those deviating even slightly from established Western narratives. It has created an unprecedented situation, which writer Caitlin Johnstone
These troll armies would be irrelevant if the major tech platforms weren't themselves complicit and working directly with state & supranational organizations, breaking their own stated rules against coordinated and automated attacks. The platforms that came out of web 2.0 are directly responsible for turning the internet into a closed, controlled and corporatized hellscape of automation and propaganda. The most pressing issue for humanity right now needs to be decentralizing the internet and breaking the repressive tech monopolies. Everything else will fall into place once people are allowed to communicate freely and not be subjected to 24/7 propaganda.
I am interested in the wider question of whether this is an example of market values subverting democratic values (as studied, for example, by the philosopher Michael Sandel).
In the 90s, there was great hope that the internet would be a force for democratization. Afaics, few people believe this today. What happened? Does the commodification of the internet play a role in this?
For example, amplifying trending tweets on Twitter does make some sense (the famous "town square"). But if tweets get commodified unintended consequences appear. For example, if likes on Twitter start to be traded on a market. Or, if the amplification algorithm maximizes advertising revenue. Or, as your article suggests, if participants in "grassroot" movements are paid by special interests.
Now my question. What are the ideas out there to solve this problem?
Kit, your work and the other truth tellers from the Grayzone, makes it easier to push back at any obnoxious Ukrainian, they can only resort to insults.
NAFO is far from being ‘one of the most effective counter-disinformation campaigns in history’. All they do is insult in a childish and humourless way and iterate ‘Are you getting your wages in roubles, Sergey?’. It’s so pettily annoying I found myself wondering if it could itself be disinformation sponsored by the GRU to encourage negative attitudes towards Ukraine because its cause is espoused by stupid aggressive idiots. I think people soon learn to ignore them.
Agreed and something of this examined here - media technic.
"A major criticism of this movement is that Soviet crimes, while terrible, should not be equated to the crimes Nazi Germany inflicted throughout Europe, particularly genocide. Critics of the "Double Genocide" theory argue that its supporters are obfuscating (and downgrading)the Holocaust, without necessarily denying a single death. Conversely, those who subscribe to the idea of "Double Genocide" perceive their critics as sympathetic to Soviet rule, culturally pro-Russian, or soft on Communism."
I seethe Holocausts needs to be the worst. Ok. Nevermind.
"namely, that Nazi liquidation of Lithuania’s population, in particular its Jews, during World War II is absolutely equal to political repression practiced during subsequent decades of Soviet occupation."
It's not because...
Interesting article. As many people will know, the Daily Mail is first amongst equals when it comes to publishing fabricated, and hilariously piss-poor, anti Russian articles almost daily on its website. Naturally, I used to occasionally comment below the articles pointing out many of their more obvious falsehoods. For the first time ever, I received notice that my account with the DM had been deleted. No matter, I already have a new account, doing the same, old rebuttals. But what's fascinating to note is that when I started, I was a rare voice of dissent. Now, the comments below many of the DM's more blatant anti Russian articles are full of dissenting voices. I sometimes wonder if the DM, and the media more generally, is aware of foot and gun disease.
Wonderful work, Kit! It's nice to see this stuff thoroughly documented and exposed. I mean, for anyone who was quite certain, but didn't necessarily feel confident enough to present the bigger picture, here it is.
Alas, the funny thing about evil is that it's not very creative. The Twitter troll farms are just the latest version of the rabble going back to ancient imperial Rome, or Athens. Except, now they just make fake profiles with pretend people to cause the same effect.
A while ago, I wrote a piece called "Confessions of a Twitter Bot." I wondered, "what kind of creep person is actually behind these fake profiles; who would do this all day as a job? And what would a day in the life of such weird psyops goons look?" I feel like there's some kind of weird Black Mirror episode in there, somewhere...