Propaganda Watch: In Unexpected Places

Russian President Vladimir Putin superimposed into a Russian Flag. Image by Lenny Ghoul.

Russian propaganda and troll farms aren’t limited to the 2016 election in the US. They aren’t even limited to trying to promote a pro-Trump agenda. Twitter @PoliteMelanie was reposted in places such as CollegeHumor, Scary Mommy, and even won Chicago Tribune’s “Tweet of the Week” contest with “Criticizing Trump in a book is just unfair. It’s like criticizing the Amish on Television….”

@PoliteMelanie was very popular. @PoliteMelanie was also a Russian troll account. It was part of a concerted effort to make sure we didn’t forget to be painfully divided before the 2018 midterms.

Netflix isn’t a safe haven either. Recently they picked up TROTSKY, an insanely popular Russian miniseries showing how the painfully flawed Leon Trotsky was bested by his nemesis, Joseph Stalin. The miniseries was produced by Channel One, Russia’s biggest (and most loyal) television station. While the show was meant to be domestic propaganda in Russia, Netflix unknowingly has helped circulate it throughout the world.

Canada has also been hit with divisive action. Trolls from Russia, Venezuela, and Iran are exploiting controversial issues like immigrants and pipelines in a familiar manner. It’s suspected the Iranian involvement comes mainly in hopes the pipeline projects fail.

These all serve as reminders that division and distraction is the main goal of these trolls, and the free world is still a target. I keep hope that they won’t succeed.

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