back to article Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia are top sources of online misinformation

Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia are the top three proliferators of state-linked Twitter misinformation campaigns, according to a report released Wednesday by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). The think tank's International Cyber Policy Centre report and corresponding website examined datasets in Twitter's …

  1. Snake Silver badge

    Saudi Arabia?

    Interesting that you made it a point not to include Saudi Arabia's determination, I was wondering why they would be third on the list. Apparently politics between the two counties is... complicated o.O

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: Saudi Arabia?

      I think that in the case of Saudi Arabia, it’s a case of the old Cold War mantra: “he may be a sonofabitch, but he’s our sonofabitch”…

  2. ToFab

    Re: Saudi Arabia?

    Also interesting that they choose not to include CNN, Fox News and all media owned by Robert Murdock

    1. uro

      Re: Saudi Arabia?

      Dont fret, they missed out the BBC too, the UK state news agency who as recently as 2018 were highlighting Ukraine's Nazi Azov problem, then just this last week they put out a 20 minute video report saying the Azov Battallion weren't Nazis at all.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Saudi Arabia?

        Vlad is that you?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Saudi Arabia?

          Yes, the Putin-bots are rather out in force on this story, aren't they? All the usual suspects, although I suspect there's a degree of sock-puppetry going on too.

          Leave them be. It's kind of funny to watch them flail around trying to justify Adolf Putin's delusions.

      2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Saudi Arabia?

        That was an odd video given the Bbc ended up essentially being apologists. Apparently it's ok to wear nazi symbols if your President is Jewish. It's now not ok to use 'Z', because that does offend President Elensky and his Aov battalion.

        Biggest issue though is figuring out why people think Twitter is a reliable source, and who gets to decide the truth. Something the Bbc is notoriously bad at determining. The UK is deciding it's next attempt at energy policy, which means the impartial Bbc is promoting 'renewables'. Last week, the UK's wind fleet ran at around 5% capacity, or 3% of demand. Germany had 4 days of virtually no wind, and being winter, little solar. Luckily Germany burns a lot of coal.

        The Bbc's solution is of course that we should throw billions more at the 'renewables' lobby.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Saudi Arabia?

          Who is this Bbc of whom you write? And how do you pronounce it?

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Saudi Arabia?

            Pronounce it in the manner of one hand strangling. Or it's just my way of protesting a stylistic change based on how a name sounds rather than how it should be styled. So until the Bbc can get NATO or NASA's names right, I'll keep getting their branding wrong.

            I'm also still convinced the new style came about because people got fed up fighting auto-correct, and didn't have permission to override their local spellchucker's dictionary.

          2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Notice wording: " state-linked Twitter misinformation campaigns,".

    It's not an accident that billions of dollars in "private" money used in USA is blatantly omitted. Eventually all of it paid by taxpayers as every cent is deduced from taxes, so it's at least sponsored by state.

    And the biggest of them all? Fox News / Murdoch empire. But not in Twitter so it doesn't matter?

    Funny thing that them Aussies decided to forgot that, despite Murdoch basically running the news in there. All the news.

    Australian Strategic Policy Institute is weird organization, it's funded mostly by governments and military, also overseas and not just Australia. Now you might ask yourself: Why would military fund an "independent" think tank?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Pot calls kettle black?

    2. El Bard

      Particularly relevant given current events, in which the press (not just US) and US intelligence agency were just proven to spread misinformation, together with the concerted effort of social media networks to censors of reports that suggested otherwise.

      https://ijr.com/ny-times-confirms-emails-hunter-laptop-not-russian/

      Then came the whopper: More than 50 former intelligence officials claimed in a letter that the emails had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” While they provided no evidence to support their claim, the letter read, “If we are right, this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this election, and we believe strongly that Americans need to be aware of this.”

      https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/hunter-bidens-emails-are-genuine-the-new-york-times-admits-ccf76cjc2

      https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/editorials/hunter-bidens-emails-expose-the-big-tech-threat-to-democracy

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        There was also the small matter of Clinton and the DNC being fined by the US Electoral Commission for lying about opposition research and making up their own 'Russian' disinformation. Dutifully reported and amplified by large sections of the MSM.

        It's all rather messy, especially given trust in MSM is at an all time low, and YT channels can get much higher ratings than CNN.

        1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
          Facepalm

          There's also the Hunter Biden laptop story which was suppressed by most American media and Twitter, and Facebook.

          The US press has finally admitted that it was true.

          ( You'd think that would count as a campaign contribution in kind. Did they declare it? )

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            I think that's why there were fines, ie $800k spent on dirt got filed in the wrong category. Only a small fine, but converts a 'conspiracy theory' into something closer to the truth.

            The laptops got more interesting because of the efforts to deny, obfuscation and de-platforming that went on around it. Especially from the MSM and 'fact checkers' who couldn't possibly know the truth. It still might contain disinformation, ie the laptops stolen and salted after one of Biden's parties.

            Problems are the usual ones though, ie the damage comes from the cover-up, not the conspiracy, and the dangers of crying wolf.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Russian "Z" is the new "卐"

    Yet sometimes misinformation backfires. Thanks to Russia, "Z" is the new "卐" and it's irreparably associated with Russia. Might take a long time for the Russian people to learn that, given how many Russians still don't know they were Nazi allies from September 1939 with the co-invasion of Poland until June 1941 at Barbarossa.

    1. Zolko Silver badge

      Re: Russian "Z" is the new "卐"

      That might be a personal problem for me, because I often sign with a "Z" my messages when in hurry. What does the "Z" mean for the Russians anyway ?

      1. MiguelC Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Russian "Z" is the new "卐"

        Doesn't anyone think about poor Zorro?

      2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Russian "Z" is the new "卐"

        The Belorussian President revealed a Russian invasion plan showing each battle group had a different invasion marking. So Z forces were the ones attacking via Crimea. Which made it a bit odd when the media showed images of destroyed 'Russian' vehicles with Z on them far from Crimea. Some also appeared to show Russia was using fireproof white paint, because heavily burned vehicles ended up with fresh looking white Zs.

        But such are the dark arts. Because Ukraine & Russia are using mostly the same vehicles, it's easy to turn the loss of a Ukrainian T-72 or BTR into a victory with a can of white paint and some propaganda. Using Z on your own vehicles to ambush Russians is, however, a war crime.

        1. Sandtitz Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: Russian "Z" is the new "卐"

          "The Belorussian President revealed a Russian invasion plan"

          No, he didn't.

          The video showed something that was already underway or was thought possible since 2014. Nothing was actually revealed. Lukashenko is an illegitimate dictator, but stupid he is not.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The problem isn't "misinformation".....

    .....the problem is that millions of people BELIEVE the misinformation without any attempt at verification. In fact, for these folk, any attempt at verification proves that you ARE THE ENEMY!!!

    Some examples from the Republican bubble of lies in the USA:

    (1) Obama is a muslim.

    (2) The affordable Care Act continues to HARM the health care provisions of millions.

    (3) (Saint) Ronald Reagan never raised taxes.

    I could go on......

    1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: The problem isn't "misinformation".....

      4: The Hunter Biden laptop story really was untrue and the American left wing news media and Twitter were right to suppress it...

      1. Trotts36

        Re: The problem isn't "misinformation".....

        The cracks in the left wing media collective are appearing. Bidens laptop finally labelled as legit by certain organisations..

  6. VoiceOfTruth

    Hilarious comedy, by the southern outpost of American hegemony

    Misinformation, according to the numpty-headed Australians, means not being accepting being foot stools for the Americans. The Australians are fools.

    1. Zolko Silver badge

      Re: Hilarious comedy, by the southern outpost of American hegemony

      Agreed. I'm also wondering which 17 countries were "investigated", and why those only.

  7. Trotts36

    This is not the misinformation you’re looking for

    Oh really ?? More likely these sources don’t fit with the narrative our oh so trustworthy western overlords want to push..

  8. kevin king

    What you mean its not Fox News, come on its always Fox News?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh no, I missed the brainwashing boat

    I don't do twitter, but it's good to know its Miss-information that I'm missing out on.

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