June 5, 2017  |  Updated July 2, 2018

Troll Cries Troll

By Corina Rebegea

This article was originally published by CEPA.

In recent years, several journalists have investigated Kremlin-sponsored troll factories. While their impact on policy and political contests is debatable, less examined—though no less important—are the interconnected ecosystems of disinformation, which the online troll community feeds and sustains. Finding them is remarkably easy. Joining them is even easier, thanks to the anonymity of the internet.

For this study on Russian disinformation in Romania, all I needed was a fake Facebook profile dedicated to following pro-Russian pages, groups and profiles on social media. Facebook opened many doors. It became a point of access to pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives and outlets in Romania, as well as to other international, pro-Putin groups or profiles acting as aggregators for local pages. This was a good lesson about Russia’s distribution machine in Romania and potentially elsewhere: Facebook is a prime vehicle for channeling viewers to blogs and websites.

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