“Russia is Manipulating US Public Opinion through Online Propaganda; We’re trying to stop it.”
Welcome to PropOrNot! This site is a resource for people who want to understand Russian influence operations targeted at US audiences, distinguish between propaganda and commercial “clickbait”, and help identify propaganda and push back.
UPDATE 2: We are clarifying some key points, publishing our updated Black Friday Report, adding FAQ entries, updating The List, and more! Please see our latest post for more information. Also, for a sense of what certain kinds of Russian trolls look and sound like in real life, check out this Samantha Bee segment, which cleverly interviews Russian social-media and comment-section propagandists:
It’s Bigger Than Just Hacked E-Mails
Russia’s attempts to influence the US election via hacking and selectively leaking sensitive US government and political information have been widely documented, but Russia is not conducting those operations in isolation. Their hacking efforts are accompanied by a large-scale, long-term, and remarkably effective campaign to build online propaganda outlets targeting US audiences. These sites have US audiences estimated in the millions, parrot Russian state-owned propaganda, and relentlessly attack the important investigative work done by actual American journalists.
Russian Propaganda Targets All Americans
While Russian influence operations resemble a marketing effort in some ways, only a few dozen individual outlets (“sources”) actually produce large amounts of original propaganda content. That content is then echoed, extended, and amplified through an immense number of secondary sites (“repeaters”). Both source and repeater outlets target a wide range of audiences: US military veterans, Wall St. insiders and finance specialists, natural-food and health enthusiasts, goldbugs, African-Americans, white Americans, peace activists, religious people, 9/11-“truthers”, and politically-active Americans across and outside the political spectrum. For example:
We at PropOrNot are assembling tools and information to help identify and neutralize Russian propaganda. We are not waiting for an official response, and we need your help!
We call on the American public to:
(wd here: oh, my, it’s a long list, but these are epic!)
Obtain news from actual reporters, who report to an editor and are professionally accountable for mistakes. We suggest NPR, the BBC, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Buzzfeed, VICE, etc, and especially your local papers and local TV news channels. Support them by subscribing, if you can!
We call on individuals who think they might be, or have been, unwittingly involved in producing or spreading Russian propaganda, to:
Come forward with your stories. We want to know what happened, and we encourage you to get in touch with actual reporters who can tell your story with the respect and care it deserves. We can help with that if you would like.
We call on Congressional leadership, and the Obama administration, to:
Work with our European allies to disconnect Russia from the SWIFT financial transaction system, effective immediately and lasting for at least one year, as an appropriate response to Russian manipulation of the election.
Is It Propaganda Or Not?
Your Friendly Neighborhood Propaganda Identification Service, Since 2016!
(of course it is! read the analytics involved, related projects, and THE LIST! (An Initial Set of Sites That Reliably Echo Russian Propaganda) Note that some of are spreading russian propaganda both wittingly and unwittingly. Over 200 sites! Over 200,000 million roosian-burgers sold!
And on Twitter they speak Baby Elmer Fuddly!
still roasty turned the tables and had a hella lot of fun: ‘The List (USA!USA!); An Initial Set of Sites That Reliably Echo USA!USA!’ Propaganda’ It’s great.