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Russia Trolls 'Spreading Vaccination Misinformation' to Create Discord

Oct 27, 2017
7,831
Seattle
#1
Anyone really shocked by this? All about creating discord

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-c...3Qp1zlhvUaJIqvSKzDJ5mILjGPB40PCBErH3FgMUwSiWw

Troll accounts that had attempted to influence the US election had also been tweeting about vaccines, a study says.

Many posted both pro- and anti-vaccination messages to create "false equivalency", the study found.

It examined thousands of tweets sent between 2014 and 2017.

Vaccination was being used by trolls and sophisticated bots as a "wedge issue", said Mark Dredze from Johns Hopkins University.

"By playing both sides, they erode public trust in vaccination, exposing us all to the risk of infectious diseases," he said.

Earlier this month, the World Health Organization (WHO) said cases of measles in Europe had hit a record high, with experts blaming this surge in infections on a drop in the number of people being vaccinated.
 
Oct 27, 2017
914
#3
My grandmother's sister got polio as a child, spent her entire life in a wheelchair with heavy braces on her legs when she was out of the chair. Why we are willingly heading back to this makes me so angry.
 
Oct 26, 2017
1,855
#6
"Do you have our battle plans ready?!"
"Sir, yes, sir! We have analyzed enemy positions and found a failure proof strategy that will strike at the very heart of the enemy!"
"Well, what is it, out with it!"
"Sir, we are going to tell them to stop listening to doctors and not to take their medicine."
"..."
"..."
"..."
"Excuse me?"
"They are already dying like flies sir, it's amazing really."
"Huh."
 
Oct 27, 2017
3,998
#8
"Do you have our battle plans ready?!"
"Sir, yes, sir! We have analyzed enemy positions and found a failure proof strategy that will strike at the very heart of the enemy!"
"Well, what is it, out with it!"
"Sir, we are going to tell them to stop listening to doctors and not to take their medicine."
"..."
"..."
"..."
"Excuse me?"
"They are already dying like flies sir, it's amazing really."
"Huh."
It's quite astounding really. The fact that a strategy like, "A lot of Americans are stupid, so let's exploit that" actually has the numbers in the general American population to WORK really shows just how far critical thinking/education has fallen in America, or, maybe more accurately, just how much racism and religion can override critical thinking. Either way, it's going to be an amazing historical example of the effectiveness of propaganda/disinformation campaigns to circumvent military superiority, and go straight for the civilian population to do damage to the political infrastructure.
 

Morrigan

Armoring
Moderator
Oct 24, 2017
8,888
#9
Exploiting the stupidity and ignorance of anti-intellectualism like that is certainly... cunning. Evil as fuck, though.
 
Oct 31, 2017
2,090
#10
Yeah, that appears to the their MO: exploit and encourage dissent along lines that already exist. The reason it is so succesful is down to poor education, poorer understanding of politics and social media companies that don't give a shit as long as people are #engaging.
 

Stinkles

343 Industries
Verified
Oct 25, 2017
10,875
#14
Vladimir Putin's Kleptocracy is not about bringing Russia up - it's about dragging everyone else down. I think eventually the situation has to come to a halt. He's a global poison. Sanctions need to bite until his team of greedy billionaires sees the writing on the wall.

Maybe some more shirtless pics of him "discovering" ancient Greek artifacts in four feet of water? Or what he actually did when the USSR finally collapsed which was to immediately sprint towards the money. The Soviet hero turned statesman version of himself is total fantasy.

He's an insecure and ordinary little bureaucrat and thief whose primary superpower is not giving a shit what happens to his countrymen or their future.
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,709
#16
Vladimir Putin's Kleptocracy is not about bringing Russia up - it's about dragging everyone else down. I think eventually the situation has to come to a halt. He's a global poison. Sanctions need to bite until his team of greedy billionaires sees the writing on the wall.
I'm not sure what you can do without resorting to what amounts to censorship.

Regulating social media to not post bullshit or at least disclose who paid for certain ads but there's no real action on their part there
 
Oct 25, 2017
8,276
#17
My grandmother's sister got polio as a child, spent her entire life in a wheelchair with heavy braces on her legs when she was out of the chair. Why we are willingly heading back to this makes me so angry.
Anti intelectualism. Russian trolls are just fanning the flames.
 
Feb 19, 2018
2,017
#22
Can't wait until the GOP leaves the WH and we bitchslap Putin with additional sanctions
There is gonna be chinese and Russian sanctions when Dems get power. Also a bit more of a curtailing of Saudi power in America.

Thr only thing about the Saudis is that we have so few friends in the region we cant really afford to part with them. If we did we woild just have Jordan and Israel
 
Oct 27, 2017
9,511
#23
I once responded to a Facebook post about how this woman that I had dated briefly was questioning vaccinating her kids. When I pointed out all of the actual information around it, she got extremely defensive and said: "Of course I'm going to vaccinate my kids, I'm just asking questions here." To which my response was: "You're asking medical advice on Facebook?"

What does that say about our society that people would trust random people on Facebook rather than doctors?
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,630
#24
We need to create legislation on this quickly. If you deny vaccination, make it illegal to go to public schools or use public tolls, social services, or anything sponsored by the government. Make the only legitimate way to avoid vaccination and participate in society being an MD or DO certified signed letter stating that you cannot be vaccinated due to your own personal health risks.

We need to protect society from these idiots at the legislative level. Rhetoric won’t work because they’re not willing to listen.
 
Oct 26, 2017
372
California
#25
How do people who always claim Occam's razor think about these revelations? That a government has been manipulating and controlling peoples (the dumb asses) thoughts and putting them in positions of power for their own gain. It sounds like a killer popcorn flick and a miserable real life.
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,709
#29
There is gonna be chinese and Russian sanctions when Dems get power. Also a bit more of a curtailing of Saudi power in America.

Thr only thing about the Saudis is that we have so few friends in the region we cant really afford to part with them. If we did we woild just have Jordan and Israel
About that:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/nation...nt-for-advice-on-saudi-connection-11549908996

American Media has had plenty of contacts with Saudi Arabia in recent years, including seeking financial backing from Saudi investors to fund acquisitions and producing a magazine celebrating the country’s new crown prince.

It also sought advice last year from the U.S. Justice Department over whether the publisher should register as a foreign agent, a person familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.
 
Oct 29, 2017
3,608
#30
We have an anti-science population because of intentional republican attacks on public education.
100%
It's funny how rich white republicans always donate to, go to and come from ivy league schools only to go on and tell their constituents to fear educated liberals and regent science, research and medicine and overall just try to keep them as stupid as possible.
 
Oct 25, 2017
6,044
Columbus, OH
#35
Liberals go to public schools just as much as Republican. Education has been under attack for decades and now you have adults on both sides reaping the fruits.
I get what you're saying, I think if anything it's the lack of skill when it comes to credible sourcing, and that's something that's definitely an issue with boomers. In my experience, I've met my fair share of liberals that are both kind of the anti-vaccine type and the anti-GMO.
 
Oct 27, 2017
6,462
#36
Fair to keep in mind that anti-vaxx is very much a thing in the left side of the political spectrum as in the right, it's one of the commanlities (distrust of authority ) and I have co-workers on both sides of the spectrum who espouse anti-vaxx sentiments. The big pharma / all natural bullship is very much a left wing bogeyman and is used ad nauseum in the anti-vaxx community.

It's fair to say Russian trolls are very much in this to prop up whomever they can to create as much confusion in our democracy as possible.

Ironic Putin is now considering unhooking Russia from the internet to avoid US hacking.
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,709
#37
It used to be that a doctor was pretty much your primary source of information for medical issues.

Now you've got countless websites and social media accounts. A lot of people don't know what to believe, critical thinking isn't everyone's strong suit.
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,618
#39
He's an insecure and ordinary little bureaucrat and thief whose primary superpower is not giving a shit what happens to his countrymen or their future.
This is so spot on. It gets tiring to see people paint him as a machiavellian mastermind. Sure, he's smarter than Trump, but that's a low bar indeed.
 
Oct 27, 2017
13,888
#40
People want to believe this stuff. They take pride in their ignorance. Anti-Intellectual really is the only way to describe this. And it will damn all of humanity.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,037
#44
I honestly don't know how we even fight back against this sort of thing.
I would think funding the hell out of public education would be a good start, but I’m no expert.

We might also consider holding social media companies accountable for harmful misinformation allowed to spread on their platforms.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,589
The Negative Zone
#45
I would think funding the hell out of public education would be a good start, but I’m no expert.

We might also consider holding social media companies accountable for harmful misinformation allowed to spread on their platforms.
I'm skeptical about education being the answer. Fake news seems to impact everyone. I mean, many anti-vaxxers have good educations. I think you need to educate people to recognize bad data, specifically, but that's at least a generation away and there is no political will for it regardless. We need immediate solutions.
 
Oct 26, 2017
3,005
#47
I honestly don't know how we even fight back against this sort of thing.
You make it damn near impossible for these dipshits to be members of society.

Start with making vaccinations mandatory for public schools.

If these morons want to be danger to the public, the public should have the right to protect itself and exclude.
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,779
#48
"Do you have our battle plans ready?!"
"Sir, yes, sir! We have analyzed enemy positions and found a failure proof strategy that will strike at the very heart of the enemy!"
"Well, what is it, out with it!"
"Sir, we are going to tell them to stop listening to doctors and not to take their medicine."
"..."
"..."
"..."
"Excuse me?"
"They are already dying like flies sir, it's amazing really."
"Huh."
That's the ingenious part of it. Someone in some war room was like "I've been on the internet a lot and noticed that any meme can catch on with enough spam. So why don't we spam memes that make people harm themselves and each other?"

And it's brilliant in this horrible way because that's done more damage to the US than any bomb could.

I honestly don't know how we even fight back against this sort of thing.
I can't think of anything besides cracking down on said bots much more aggressively, and/or out-shouting them with truthful information.

The first one is probably more practical. Bot posts can probably be caught with machine learning. The latter is harder because the truth often involves a detailed explanation, which doesn't translate well against meme spam and short attention spans. That would be like trying to explain the intracies of any topic in twitch chat.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,041
#49
If we didn't have such a staunchly anti-science population, shitty ploys like this wouldn't work.
Yup. We have an enemy who expertly knows how to use tools we are providing to them. We need to address both aspects of the problem - the internal and external causes.
 
May 29, 2018
1,415
Near London UK
#50
That's the ingenious part of it. Someone in some war room was like "I've been on the internet a lot and noticed that any meme can catch on with enough spam. So why don't we spam memes that make people harm themselves and each other?"

And it's brilliant in this horrible way because that's done more damage to the US than any bomb could.
How much of 4chan & reddit is basically this kind of stuff? I reckon it's a lot. Conspiracies, racism, bad medical advice, people pretending to be 11 years old casually dropping the N word because "It's just a joke and free speech, guys!"...