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Macedonian fake news sites and shadow tracking

There is a good CNN video, 13 minutes, here about the city of Veles in Macedonia, which emerged as one of the capitals of fake news deployment in run up to US 2016 election.

Also an article from the Guardian, July 2017, about investigation into Russian ties to fake news sites.

“Mattes, a former Senate investigator, did some digging into the sudden phenomenon of eastern European Sanders enthusiasts. He found a spike in activity on the anonymous browsing tool Tor in Macedonia that coincided with the launch of the fake news campaign, which he believes could represent Russian handlers contacting potential east European hosts to help them set up automated websites.”

Jonathan Albright’s November 2016 Medium post about the marriage of propaganda, misinformation, and analytics draws together all these threads into a darkly amazing tapestry. Albright:

“I’m going to use the data I’ve collected for this project to make the argument that this “micro-propaganda machine” is not only a source of “fake news,” political noise, and strategic misinformation, it’s weaponized, behavioral-tracking shadow tech…

The data trails left from visiting these propaganda/hoax/viral/ misinformation “fake news” sites are being used to reflect on people’s past decisions to influence the future: It’s called predictive modeling.”

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. 🕵️ Emoji Investigator ™

    More from Guardian link above:

    “He saw the same pattern that Mattes had observed, of seemingly independent operators across Europe suddenly starting to propagate similar messages consistent with messaging from Moscow.

    “What you have to look at now is how were these sites financed and you have look at their ownership. How did they get the funds to get started?” said Watts, now a senior fellow at the Centre For Cyber and Homeland Security at George Washington University.

    He has also found a high degree of apparent coordination in the dissemination of fake news between official Russian propaganda outlets and “alt-right” sites in the US.

    “They synchronise so quickly it looks as if they know when a particularly story was going to come out,” he added. “And they all parrot the Kremlin narrative.””

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