Everyone is concerned about the “fake news” that tends to “disrupt” political process. While the link on ET Prime speaks about election spending, it rehashes a lot of information in the public domain. However, a lot needs to be done to understand the process of “mass-influence”. It only sounds like a rogue intelligence “operation” that went horribly wrong but unless you have your head in the sand, most of the social media was funded by the CIA through its investment arms. There has been enough literature out in the open, but I am not giving credibility to these “think-tanks”.
My intention to link this article isn’t politics but to put the economic costs in perspective. In contrast, fake “health-news” occurs everywhere (saddled with misleading marketing), and I have heard several users speaking about “miracle” cancer cures. Everyone loves these lofty promises, but there is no qualified resource to understand and study these news networks. As usual, Google remains the only source to lead users to these misleading claims. I am surprised why search engine companies are flying under the radar for such behaviour for misleading websites.
Imagine the costs of healthcare and the resulting financial toxicity out of it.
The network was uncovered when EU Disinfo Lab noticed that a Brussels-based website, EP Today, was re-publishing propaganda articles from Russia Today and Voice of America.
Further, it was discovered that the entity was also running plagiarised and syndicated articles that serve Indian geopolitical interests and had Indian stakeholders with ties to the Srivastava Group. The influence network was targeting MEPs with misleading content about Pakistan.
“Our report [not only] looks at coordinated fake local media outlets but also the coordination of content production around these. Disinformation is not only about spreading fake news. It is about creating an artificial reality — in this case an artificial network of media, think tanks, and NGOs” says Alexandre Alaphilippe, co-founder and executive director, EU Disinfo Lab.
He believes that when NGOs, think tanks, or media houses so far unheard of suddenly come to the fore and are “fed with real people such as politicians or former civil servants, you’re giving an appearance of credibility, whereas everything is organised. It’s a sock puppet show. It has an impact because if nobody exposes it, stops it, it means this is accepted. This then becomes a fair game.”