April 14, 2017
OCCAM’S RAZOR SLICES THAT WAY, TOO: Analysts identify #SyriaHoax as Russian-fueled propaganda.
That hoax story was promoted by a network of Russian social media accounts and ultimately picked up by popular alt-right personalities in the United States, including Mike Cernovich, one of the leading voices in the debunked ‘Pizzagate’ conspiracy theory. Cernovich popularized its new hashtag — #SyriaHoax — and sent it soaring through cyberspace. According to Trends24, within hours of the retaliatory missile strike President Donald Trump launched on Thursday night, #SyriaHoax was the No. 1 trending Twitter topic in the United States.
J.M. Berger of The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism at The Hague, who studies propaganda and social media analytical techniques, said #SyriaHoax is “a clear example of a Russian influence campaign” designed to undermine the credibility of the U.S. government.
“The point of an influence campaign is to get people involved who wouldn’t otherwise be involved,” Berger said. “A lot of people in the alt-right would not necessarily characterize themselves as being pro-Russian, but they’re receiving influence from this campaign.”
Berger cannot say whether Al-Masdar News is backed by either the Syrian government or the Russian government, only that the outlet “is being promoted at an extraordinary level by this [Russian] network” and the Kremlin has a history of weaponizing disinformation.
Yes they do.