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Daily Archives: June 5, 2024

Operation Overload

Aleksandra Atanasova (Reset.Tech), Amaury Lesplingart (CheckFirst), Francesco Poldi (CheckFirst), Guillaume Kuster (CheckFirst) Published in June 2024 under the CC BY-SA licence.

This report exposes a large-scale, cross-country, multi-platform disinformation campaign designed to spread pro-Russian propaganda in the West, with clear indicators of foreign interference and information manipulation (FIMI). The narratives promoted by the actors are aligned with Russian interests, which is a hallmark of FIMI. At the time of writing, this operation is still ongoing. Operation Overload’s primary objective is to target fact-checkers, newsrooms, and researchers globally with the aim of depleting their resources and exploiting credible information ecosystemsto disseminate the Kremlin’s political agenda. The actors operate through a coordinated email campaign, orchestrated networks of Telegram channels, a network of inauthentic accounts on X (formerly Twitter), and an ecosystem of Russia-aligned websites, including the newly discovered Pravda2 network. A key feature of the operation involves flooding media organisations with anonymous emails containing links to fake content and anti-Ukraine narratives, particularly targeting France and Germany. Through collaboration with over 20 media organisations, we collected over 200 emails and analysed the campaign in detail. Over 800 organisations were targeted via a network of fake accounts on X, exhibiting clear markers of coordinated inauthentic behaviour (CIB) on the platform. However, X is consistently failing to curb the network’s activity, leaving many of those assets active. The actors employ a tactic we dubbed “content amalgamation”, blending various content types and formats to create a credible, multi-layered story. This story is then strategically amplified across platforms, instilling a false sense of urgency among journalists and fact-checkers. Other notable tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) include impersonating legitimate media and individuals and exploiting real-world events. The operation serves both domestic propaganda and FIMI purposes. While our report mainl concentrates on the latter, it is essential to acknowledge that the considered fake content originates on Russian social media platforms and spreads on Russian-language websites and blogs, including state media outlets, with the manifest aim to promote the Kremlin’s military agenda to local audiences. The report underscores the remarkable coordination and sophistication of Operation Overload. The campaign is still ongoing, expanding in scope, and evolving new TTPs over time. Media organisations will hopefully find this report a valuable guide for recognising such campaigns and protecting themselves from their elaborate stratagem.”

How climate change is making us sick

Grist: “These climate-driven impacts are taking a serious toll on human health. Cases of disease linked to mosquitos, ticks, and fleas tripled in the U.S. between 2004 and 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The threat extends beyond commonly recognized vector-borne diseases. Research shows more than half of all the pathogens… Continue Reading

You Should Browse With Incognito More Often: Here’s Why

MakeUseOf: “Key Takeaways Incognito mode prevents your browsing history, cookies, and information entered in forms from being saved on your device, making your browsing private from others who use the same device. Incognito mode also helps you avoid targeted ads and prevents websites from storing cookies on your device, offering more privacy and a smoother… Continue Reading

Political Machines: Understanding the Role of AI in the U.S. 2024 Elections and Beyond

Martin, Z., Jackson, D., Trauthig, I., and Woolley, S. (May, 2024). Political machines: Understanding the role of generative AI in the U.S. 2024 elections and beyond. Center for Media Engagement. Propagandists are pragmatists and innovators.1 Political marketing is a game in which the cutting edge can be the margin between victory and defeat. Generative Artificial… Continue Reading

Bluesky and Mastodon users can now talk to each other with Bridgy Fed

TechCrunch: “An important step toward a more interoperable “fediverse” — the broader network of decentralized social media apps like Mastodon, Bluesky and others — has been achieved. Now, users on decentralized apps like Mastodon, powered by the ActivityPub protocol, and those powered by Bluesky’s AT Protocol, can easily follow people on other networks, see their… Continue Reading

OpenAI Is Just Facebook Now

The Atlantic [unpaywalled] “Facing one controversy after the next, the artificial-intelligence company enters a new phase. OpenAI appears to be in the midst of a months-long revolt from within. The latest flash point came yesterday, when a group of 11 current and former employees—plus two from other firms—issued a public letter declaring that leading AI… Continue Reading

Identifying and characterizing superspreaders of low-credibility content on Twitter

DeVerna MR, Aiyappa R, Pacheco D, Bryden J, Menczer F (2024) Identifying and characterizing superspreaders of low-credibility content on Twitter. PLoS ONE 19(5): e0302201. “The world’s digital information ecosystem continues to struggle with the spread of misinformation. Prior work has suggested that users who consistently disseminate a disproportionate amount of low-credibility content—so-called superspreaders—are at… Continue Reading

Notable People

Notable people – “Using data from Morgane Laouenan et al., the map is showing birthplaces of the most “notable people” around the world. Data has been processed to show only one person for each unique geographic location with the highest notability rank. Click below to show people only from a specific category. Made by Topi… Continue Reading

This Hacker Tool Extracts All the Data Collected by Windows’ New Recall AI

Wired [unpaywalled]: “When Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella revealed the new Windows AI tool that can answer questions about your web browsing and laptop use, he said one of the “magical” things about it was that the data doesn’t leave your laptop; the Windows Recall system takes screenshots of your activity every five seconds and saves… Continue Reading