"'The difference now is the speed with which it spreads, and the denigration of the institutions that we rely on to understand the truth. I think we're in dangerous territory.'"
Don't miss the New York Times investigation detailing Russia's decade-long health disinformation campaign against the United States and other Western democracies, using social media and news outlets to sow confusion and hurt institutions.
Vladimir Putin's years-long campaign to spread misinformation on public health issues included urging Americans to see vaccines as dangerous.
William J. Broad / New York Times:
The Russian president has waged his long campaign by means of open media, secretive trolls and shadowy blogs that regularly cast American health officials as patronizing frauds. Of late, new stealth and sophistication have made his handiwork harder to see, track and fight.
Even so, the State Department recently accused Russia of using thousands of social media accounts to spread coronavirus misinformation — including a conspiracy theory that the United States engineered the deadly pandemic.
The Kremlin's audience for open disinformation is surprisingly large. The YouTube videos of RT, Russia's global television network, average one million views per day, "the highest among news outlets," according to a U.S. intelligence report. Since the founding of the Russian network in 2005, its videos have received more than four billion views, analysts recently concluded.
For Vladimir Putin, spreading disinformation about coronavirus fits into a long pattern of sowing doubt about science outside of his country. Interesting story by @WilliamJBroad. https://t.co/Q4laf7olcC
— Danny Hakim (@dannyhakim) April 13, 2020
The real turning point in Putin's nefarious disinformation campaign came when he started touting unproven cures and ignoring expert advice in his daily White House briefings, shown live on American television https://t.co/w4jYLhjOWx
— max seddon (@maxseddon) April 13, 2020
Russian disinformation has been attacking US science for decades, since the beginning of the AIDS crisis. Nothing has changed https://t.co/MmEfddgEeM
— Anne Applebaum (@anneapplebaum) April 13, 2020
As a KGB agent for 16 years, Putin was required to spend a quarter of his time conceiving and implementing plans for sowing disinformation. Not much seems to have changed. https://t.co/emRBAwIZ7w
— Trip Gabriel (@tripgabriel) April 13, 2020
Answer this riddle: name the world leader that has done the most injury to Americans by questioning the credibility of scientists and public-health experts and touting misleading would-be miracle cures, which led at least one American to die of poisoning? https://t.co/OqEVOUNI3v
— Joshua Yaffa (@yaffaesque) April 13, 2020
It's not just the Chinese peddling a conspiracy theory that coronavirus is an American bioweapon gone rogue, @WilliamJBroad reports. Vladimir is back, with disinformation to match the moment. https://t.co/plXsomLtj4
— David Sanger (@SangerNYT) April 13, 2020
Russia & Putin use coronavirus misinformation to expand narrative that US behind creation of such pandemics. Excellent read. (Although story echoes US intel exaggeration about reach of Kremlin's RT network on You Tube. Tons of home videos.) https://t.co/NHLV8PhgGi @WilliamJBroad
— Neil MacFarquhar (@NeilMacFarquhar) April 13, 2020