Please forward this how To Make Money Online In Germany 2017 screen to host. Russia Has Launched a Fake News War on Europe. One morning in November, Simon Hegelich, a professor of political science at the Technical University of Munich, was surprised to get an urgent invitation from the office of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who wanted to hear more about his research on the manipulation of voter sentiment. Less than two weeks earlier, the U. What was past, Merkel thought, may be prologue.
With German elections scheduled for Sept. 24, the Chancellor knows that her bid for a fourth term in office may be subject to the same dirty tricks employed in the U. As Europe’s most powerful leader and its most determined critic of the Kremlin, Merkel has long been a target of Russian influence campaigns. Her concern is not just the Russian media outlets that spread disinformation, Hegelich says. It is also the automated algorithms, known as bots, that help false reports go viral much faster than politicians or fact-checkers can debunk them. When American voters were shown a series of such stories from the U. So Merkel’s government is preparing for a siege. Merkel’s government has used to target everything from hate speech and pornography to malicious propaganda. Political leaders in Washington are well aware of the challenge.
In an interview with MSNBC aired on Aug. 6, the White House National Security Adviser H. Germany’s Network Enforcement Act is among the more extreme reactions to this campaign, though it’s hardly the only one. The European Union has also created an office devoted to debunking fake news and Russian propaganda. Heiko Maas, Germany’s Federal Minister of Justice, during a meeting in Berlin on Jan. Hegelich recalls telling Merkel when they met. And if there are new ways to manipulate public opinion, then we will see a new type of democracy. In some ways this is already happening.
In an era when anonymous hackers can steal the secrets of virtually any politician, and where an Internet connection is all that’s needed to command an audience of millions, the rules fashioned and maintained by European democracies over decades are breaking down. What takes their place is anybody’s guess. But Russia and Germany have emerged as the most determined players in the scramble to adapt to this terrain and, where possible, to reshape it. The German vote will be an early test: either the campaign will unfold in the same atmosphere of hacks, leaks and disinformation that marred the U. Jutta Kramm and Jacques Pezet, members of the Correctiv factchecking team, at their office in Berlin on Aug. The Network Enforcement Act, which is due to take effect in October, would give social networks a new, weightier role in our political debate.
But neither can Facebook claim to be a neutral channel of communication, as indifferent to what its users say as the wires that connect our telephones. That passive approach went out the window during the 2016 elections. Within a week of Trump’s victory, Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder and chief executive of Facebook, admitted that the public was right to ask about the company’s role in spreading fake news and about the impact it may have had on the elections. Rather than play the role of truth teller itself, Facebook has effectively outsourced it to independent fact-checkers, who sift through an endless stream of posts, articles, conspiracy theories and rumors and try to set the record straight. Jutta Kramm, the director of its four-person fact-checking team, doesn’t much care whether the fake news comes from Russia or from its ideological fellow travelers on the German right wing. She only wants to keep their propaganda out of her country’s elections. Kramm, a former editor at the Berliner Zeitung newspaper.
It’s really important that we make our electoral decisions on the basis of facts and not lies. Jacques Pezet, a member of the Correctiv factchecking team, works at the office in Berlin on Aug. Her job is to divine the difference. Each morning an email from Facebook arrives in her inbox full of dubious material dredged up from across the social network.
Much of it comes from automated filters that are designed to pick out hoaxes and clickbait. Regular Facebook users compile the rest by flagging posts they deem wrong or offensive. The result is a digital mess that Correctiv sifts through in search of posts that are purposely misleading and likely to spread. From their hushed corner of the newsroom, whose walls are a collage of stickers and posters for civil rights campaigns around the world, the fact-checkers focus on the lies that could do the most political damage. Jacques Pezet, one of the Correctiv fact-checkers.
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In Germany, the most common hoaxes relate to immigration policy. When a story like these appears in the Correctiv inbox, its journalists try to track down the original source and produce a report exposing its errors and falsehoods. That part of the job is hardly groundbreaking. There are plenty of fact-checking operations in the U. Europe that have long sought to keep politicians and news sources honest. As part of their cooperation, Facebook has agreed to reach into the news feeds of its users and put a warning label next to the disputed posts. The idea is not to censor or delete the content but to make readers think twice about its sources while offering them a way to double check its claims.
The healthy ecosystem is one in which expert fact checkers are doing their job, and they can reach people through Facebook. Jutta Kramm, head of the Correctiv factchecking team, works at the office in Berlin on Aug. The approach taken by Correctiv still allows plenty of fake news to spread. Over the last few months, the agency has developed a list of the major forces in the field of propaganda, primarily right-wing agitators, anonymous bloggers and networks of bots that generate or amplify the latest hoax.
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They often seem to work in concert with each other, swarming around some issue that gets their attention or advances a broader agenda. Among the most aggressive fixtures on this list is a small but growing Russian operation known as News Front, a multimedia outlet that pumps out content in several languages, including German, Spanish, and English. Konstantin Knyrik, the 28-year-old founder and editor of News Front, thinks of himself less as a journalist than an information warrior for the digital age, and he has the career and the connections to prove it. As a teenager in the mid-2000s, he became an active member of the Eurasian Youth Union, a group of hardline Russian nationalists who campaign for Moscow to restore the empire it lost after the fall of the Soviet Union. Today his outlet films its broadcasts at a studio in Simferopol, the capital of Crimea, with oversight from the region’s Kremlin-backed authorities.
We want people to see an alternative point of view. Even the idea of objective reporting is not consistent with this worldview. There is only the spin of competing perspectives, none of which is more valid than the others. Yet News Front reporters have somehow been granted extraordinary access to the Russian armed forces. They often embed with Russian troops and paramilitaries fighting in Syria and eastern Ukraine, frequently running footage or live streams from the front lines. What makes News Front stand out from its allies is that it rarely even pretends to uphold traditional journalistic standards. Russian civilization and to show the true face of the enemies of the Russian world.