Russian Misinformation Seeks to Confound, Not Convince

Mon, 28 Mar 2022 14:00:00 GMT
Scientific American - Technology

Rather than take a side, these campaigns create decision paralysis that leads to inaction

As war envelops Ukraine, Russian sources have strived to create a miasma of disinformation about the invasion.

Among ample efforts to distort reality, the Russian Ministry of Defense asserted recently that U.S.-backed labs in Ukraine have been developing bioweapons.

As the Russia-Ukraine war intensifies, so too will the flow of disinformation.

Rather than focusing effort on convincing people of a falsehood, the Russian strategy takes a tack reminiscent of a strategy long employed by the tobacco industry: to sow so much doubt about what is true that it sends people into decision paralysis.

Despite Russian intelligence taking responsibility for this lie in 1992, the legacy of AIDS denialism persists to this day worldwide.

In our media-saturated era, Russia has been, by far, disinformation's most enthusiastic user.

By summer 2020, the European Commission identified a concerted Russian drive to propagate COVID disinformation worldwide.

Conviction is not the chief goal of disinformation; instilling doubt is.

This is the strategy Putin continues to pursue; already Russian propaganda has tried to paint Ukraine as aggressors with staged disinformation.

Across social media, Russian front organizations still try to induce doubt, efforts that will only intensify as the war wages on.

Summarized by 83%, original article size 1293 characters