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(NPR)   The Russian government-controlled Internet Research Agency has created more than 50 "sleeper" sites that appear to be legit local news sites and are currently publishing 100% true local news stories and amassing thousands of regular readers   ( npr.org) divider line
    More: Scary, News, local news, Internet Research Agency, United States, Russia, Twitter, Internet, Social media  
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2485 clicks; posted to Politics » on 12 Jul 2018 at 6:15 PM (10 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2018-07-12 01:30:01 PM  
"Their first attempt in the early 2000's, FARK.com, failed after being taken over by drunks and a squirrel with giant testicles."
 
2018-07-12 01:30:10 PM  
Who the hell trusts local news? Even when it's run by U.S. companies it's used as dishonest propaganda to swing elections.
 
2018-07-12 01:48:33 PM  

skozlaw: Who the hell trusts local news? Even when it's run by U.S. companies it's used as dishonest propaganda to swing elections.


Good work Comrade on spreading distrust of all news sources.
 
2018-07-12 02:15:24 PM  

Dinki: skozlaw: Who the hell trusts local news? Even when it's run by U.S. companies it's used as dishonest propaganda to swing elections.

Good work Comrade on spreading distrust of all news sources.


AHem.  I believe this is what he's referring to

thehill.comView Full Size
 
2018-07-12 02:24:59 PM  
The Internet Research Agency created an account that looks like it is the Chicago Daily News. That newspaper shuttered in 1978.
So instead of stealing the identity of a long-dead person, they stole the identity of a long-dead newspaper? And developed a loyal following of people starved of straight local news to boot?Impressive work, I'll give them that. What I want to know is where they got those stories./imnotevenmadthatsamazing.jpg
 
2018-07-12 03:20:22 PM  
On a side note, thanks Drew.  I'm not trying to blow smoke up your ass--NTTAWWT--but sites like Fark that haven't gotten up their own ass with automation/aggregation/customization/e​vilification/lazification are still, in my opinion, the gems of the internet.  You're no Reddit or Google News or Facebook News Feed, and I genuinely believe that's a good thing as it makes it harder for Evil to exploit.  ....well, unless you or your heirs decide to sell out and turn evil one day, then I'll be sad.  But hey, that's why a lot of us are bribing you with subscriptions, right? :P  Anyway, thanks again.

/...unless Fark has been the oldest of the sleeper sites?? Project Squirrel's Balls?
//*puts on tinfoil hat and eyes everyone suspiciously*
 
2018-07-12 04:12:43 PM  
Twitter caught these Internet Research Agency accounts in the act and suspended them.

Seems a dumb move. Why not let them carry on believing they have been undetected and close them all down suddenly the moment they start being used to spread disinformation?   Closing them now only lets the Russians know they've been found out and gives them time to start new sites and improve their efforts to hide.
 
2018-07-12 06:19:53 PM  
Worked so well for them in 2016, why would they stop?
 
2018-07-12 06:19:55 PM  
Well, I for one am very thankful that no one has been harder on Russia than Trump.
 
2018-07-12 06:20:02 PM  
Be less stupid, America.
 
2018-07-12 06:20:19 PM  
img.fark.netView Full Size

Yes.  Yes it is.
 
2018-07-12 06:20:45 PM  
Story fails to offer full list, only partial nuggets.
img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2018-07-12 06:21:15 PM  

WyDave: "Their first attempt in the early 2000's, FARK.com, failed after being taken over by drunks and a squirrel with giant testicles."


USA! USA! USA! USA!
 
2018-07-12 06:21:37 PM  
I'd say we're at war, we just haven't accepted it.
 
2018-07-12 06:24:57 PM  

Peter von Nostrand: I'd say we're at war, we just haven't accepted it.


I have. Republicans in the government haven't.
 
2018-07-12 06:25:33 PM  

Peter von Nostrand: I'd say we're at war, we just haven't accepted it.


Yes, I agree. This is an information war hat is going to quickly escalate to a real one soon enough, I'm with you.

/No Alex Jones, not yours
//we're taking the term back
///because that's what this really is
 
2018-07-12 06:26:14 PM  

Peter von Nostrand: I'd say we're at war, we just haven't accepted it.


We've been at war for decades. We're just dealing with the First Order of the Galactic Empire kinda assholes now.
 
2018-07-12 06:28:39 PM  

MikeyFuccon: The Internet Research Agency created an account that looks like it is the Chicago Daily News. That newspaper shuttered in 1978.
So instead of stealing the identity of a long-dead person, they stole the identity of a long-dead newspaper? And developed a loyal following of people starved of straight local news to boot?Impressive work, I'll give them that. What I want to know is where they got those stories./imnotevenmadthatsamazing.jpg


Like the U.S. TV networks, they steal their stories from $25,000-a-year reporters working their asses off at legitimate small daily and weekly newspapers.
 
2018-07-12 06:29:53 PM  

Peter von Nostrand: I'd say we're at war, we just haven't accepted it.


Cold War 2: Electric Boogaloo.
 
2018-07-12 06:31:19 PM  
It was pretty clear they were doing this from the Facebook of some relatives I have in the UP, if it wasn't a fake local news site it was straight up RT articles.
 
2018-07-12 06:32:05 PM  

skyotter: Be less stupid, America.


Difficulty:  Americans.
 
2018-07-12 06:32:09 PM  

koder: On a side note, thanks Drew.  I'm not trying to blow smoke up your ass--NTTAWWT--but sites like Fark that haven't gotten up their own ass with automation/aggregation/customization/e​vilification/lazification are still, in my opinion, the gems of the internet.  You're no Reddit or Google News or Facebook News Feed, and I genuinely believe that's a good thing as it makes it harder for Evil to exploit.  ....well, unless you or your heirs decide to sell out and turn evil one day, then I'll be sad.  But hey, that's why a lot of us are bribing you with subscriptions, right? :P  Anyway, thanks again.

/...unless Fark has been the oldest of the sleeper sites?? Project Squirrel's Balls?
//*puts on tinfoil hat and eyes everyone suspiciously*


Fark.ru is pretty much just a Pravda mirror. Check it out.
 
2018-07-12 06:32:09 PM  
In a decade or so, we'll find out that the Russian Government gave a massive cash infusion to FOX News at some point.
 
2018-07-12 06:33:51 PM  

Dinki: skozlaw: Who the hell trusts local news? Even when it's run by U.S. companies it's used as dishonest propaganda to swing elections.

Good work Comrade on spreading distrust of all news sources.


Speaking as someone who works for a local news source, he is right to distrust them.
 
2018-07-12 06:34:48 PM  

Catlenfell: In a decade or so, we'll find out that the Russian Government gave a massive cash infusion to FOX News at some point.


If we still have a free press in ten years.
 
2018-07-12 06:35:15 PM  

Riothamus: koder: On a side note, thanks Drew.  I'm not trying to blow smoke up your ass--NTTAWWT--but sites like Fark that haven't gotten up their own ass with automation/aggregation/customization/e​vilification/lazification are still, in my opinion, the gems of the internet.  You're no Reddit or Google News or Facebook News Feed, and I genuinely believe that's a good thing as it makes it harder for Evil to exploit.  ....well, unless you or your heirs decide to sell out and turn evil one day, then I'll be sad.  But hey, that's why a lot of us are bribing you with subscriptions, right? :P  Anyway, thanks again.

/...unless Fark has been the oldest of the sleeper sites?? Project Squirrel's Balls?
//*puts on tinfoil hat and eyes everyone suspiciously*

Fark.ru is pretty much just a Pravda mirror. Check it out.


*checks it out*

img.fark.netView Full Size


*closes browser and reformats computer*
 
2018-07-12 06:35:50 PM  

JAYoung: MikeyFuccon: The Internet Research Agency created an account that looks like it is the Chicago Daily News. That newspaper shuttered in 1978.
So instead of stealing the identity of a long-dead person, they stole the identity of a long-dead newspaper? And developed a loyal following of people starved of straight local news to boot?Impressive work, I'll give them that. What I want to know is where they got those stories./imnotevenmadthatsamazing.jpg

Like the U.S. TV networks, they steal their stories from $25,000-a-year reporters working their asses off at legitimate small daily and weekly newspapers.


The only people who are allowed proper cameras are the anchors and the weather people. If you arn't one of those people then you better report on that triple homicide using your iPhone's Selfie mode.
 
2018-07-12 06:37:31 PM  

Carter Pewterschmidt: Twitter caught these Internet Research Agency accounts in the act and suspended them.

Seems a dumb move. Why not let them carry on believing they have been undetected and close them all down suddenly the moment they start being used to spread disinformation?   Closing them now only lets the Russians know they've been found out and gives them time to start new sites and improve their efforts to hide.


Because there will be a non-zero portion of the world who will say "oh, now that they are publishing the TRUTH you don't like suddenly they are tied to your little Russia conspiracy theory that we KNOW is fake news."

Reminds me of all the people who would swear by RT before the Crimea invasion saying it was like the BBC if you wanted news not tainted by domestic partisan interests, then the Crimea invasion happened and they joined in all the "Ukrainian fascists have hijacked the government and are now leading a genocide against Russian speakers in Crimea! This is an international incident and someone must intervene to save them!" and people did in fact say "well they have been given it to me straight recently, how do I know the allegations that this was a Russian invasion isn't just Western propaganda?"
 
2018-07-12 06:41:15 PM  

Grungehamster: Carter Pewterschmidt: Twitter caught these Internet Research Agency accounts in the act and suspended them.

Seems a dumb move. Why not let them carry on believing they have been undetected and close them all down suddenly the moment they start being used to spread disinformation?   Closing them now only lets the Russians know they've been found out and gives them time to start new sites and improve their efforts to hide.

Because there will be a non-zero portion of the world who will say "oh, now that they are publishing the TRUTH you don't like suddenly they are tied to your little Russia conspiracy theory that we KNOW is fake news."

Reminds me of all the people who would swear by RT before the Crimea invasion saying it was like the BBC if you wanted news not tainted by domestic partisan interests, then the Crimea invasion happened and they joined in all the "Ukrainian fascists have hijacked the government and are now leading a genocide against Russian speakers in Crimea! This is an international incident and someone must intervene to save them!" and people did in fact say "well they have been given it to me straight recently, how do I know the allegations that this was a Russian invasion isn't just Western propaganda?"


This is my college educated uncle now. He doesn't believe Russia is innocent by any means, but he believes the west is making up all of these claims about Russian activity and that the media is in on it.

He's also a 9/11 truther.
 
2018-07-12 06:49:28 PM  

poppaskwat: [img.fark.net image 563x288]
Yes.  Yes it is.


Don't forget she's Russian.
 
2018-07-12 06:55:48 PM  
Russia's information attack against the United States during the 2016 election cycle sought to take advantage of the greater trust that Americans tend to place in local news.

That's a sad commentary on the state of the national news.
 
2018-07-12 06:56:20 PM  

Grungehamster: Carter Pewterschmidt: Twitter caught these Internet Research Agency accounts in the act and suspended them.

Seems a dumb move. Why not let them carry on believing they have been undetected and close them all down suddenly the moment they start being used to spread disinformation?   Closing them now only lets the Russians know they've been found out and gives them time to start new sites and improve their efforts to hide.

Because there will be a non-zero portion of the world who will say "oh, now that they are publishing the TRUTH you don't like suddenly they are tied to your little Russia conspiracy theory that we KNOW is fake news."

Reminds me of all the people who would swear by RT before the Crimea invasion saying it was like the BBC if you wanted news not tainted by domestic partisan interests, then the Crimea invasion happened and they joined in all the "Ukrainian fascists have hijacked the government and are now leading a genocide against Russian speakers in Crimea! This is an international incident and someone must intervene to save them!" and people did in fact say "well they have been given it to me straight recently, how do I know the allegations that this was a Russian invasion isn't just Western propaganda?"


I kind of feel like the Russians spent years building up trust in RT with the end goal of using that trust as currency in a propaganda war.  Now that well is dry they are obviously working on next stage.  We are probably exposing them now because the obvious target is the midterm elections.   Hell they are posing as out of circulation papers that only old semi senile seniors would remember used to be a thing.
 
2018-07-12 06:57:35 PM  

Peter von Nostrand: I'd say we're at war, we just haven't accepted it.


A good return salvo would be for Allied/Western agencies to just null route all traffic from Russia. You can't be a good citizen? No Internet for you.

/Personally I'd like to see the Internet Research Agency's building mysteriously go up in flames...
 
2018-07-12 07:03:41 PM  

erik-k: /Personally I'd like to see the Internet Research Agency's building mysteriously go up in flames...


Don't worry.  We'll probably do it to hide the evidence.
 
2018-07-12 07:03:50 PM  
img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2018-07-12 07:04:46 PM  
This story reminds me of domestic abuse.

The guy starts out by being nice and charming to his intended. She trusts him enough to move in with him. Then, months or years down the track, the abuse starts. But by then, the woman is trapped by all the gaslighting the abuser gives her and she loses touch with reality.
 
2018-07-12 07:11:03 PM  
Thousands of regulars? They can't even hire a click factory to bump up readership by a couple hundred thousand to seem more legitimate?
 
2018-07-12 07:16:39 PM  

Lord_Baull: Well, I for one am very thankful that no one has been harder on for Russia than Trump.


Fixed.
 
2018-07-12 07:19:54 PM  
Is it really a "sleeper site" if its identity is being broadcast by NPR?
 
2018-07-12 07:35:54 PM  

erik-k: A good return salvo would be for Allied/Western agencies to just null route all traffic from Russia.


We could call it The Great Firewall.
 
Ant
2018-07-12 07:37:30 PM  
Time to geoblock Russian IPs. I know they can get around it, but why make it easy?
 
Ant
2018-07-12 07:39:59 PM  

Peter von Nostrand: I'd say we're at war, we just haven't accepted it.


Definitely. They've weaponized stupidity.
 
2018-07-12 07:40:06 PM  

koder: On a side note, thanks Drew.  I'm not trying to blow smoke up your ass--NTTAWWT--but sites like Fark that haven't gotten up their own ass with automation/aggregation/customization/e​vilification/lazification are still, in my opinion, the gems of the internet.  You're no Reddit or Google News or Facebook News Feed, and I genuinely believe that's a good thing as it makes it harder for Evil to exploit.  ....well, unless you or your heirs decide to sell out and turn evil one day, then I'll be sad.  But hey, that's why a lot of us are bribing you with subscriptions, right? :P  Anyway, thanks again.

/...unless Fark has been the oldest of the sleeper sites?? Project Squirrel's Balls?
//*puts on tinfoil hat and eyes everyone suspiciously*


Ah yes, Grasshopper, you now begin to understand the truth of the world. But... think a little further along the path to be amazed at the wondrous beauty of the entire plot. It is sublime.
 
2018-07-12 07:52:14 PM  

WickerNipple: erik-k: /Personally I'd like to see the Internet Research Agency's building mysteriously go up in flames...

Don't worry.  We'll probably do it to hide the evidence.


Remember the RAIN interview? That was deeply embarrassing to Putin, and I understand that the guy has disappeared. Old Vlad is not going to want any more tell-all interviews or books. Every one of those hackers, and probably their families as well, are going to die after this is all over.
img.fark.netView Full Size

The particular hell of this is that some of these guys are very smart people. Though the figured it out too late, they know what lies ahead. Imagine that kind of work environment.
 
2018-07-12 08:25:05 PM  

Grungehamster: Carter Pewterschmidt: Twitter caught these Internet Research Agency accounts in the act and suspended them.

Seems a dumb move. Why not let them carry on believing they have been undetected and close them all down suddenly the moment they start being used to spread disinformation?   Closing them now only lets the Russians know they've been found out and gives them time to start new sites and improve their efforts to hide.


Because there will be a non-zero portion of the world who will say "oh, now that they are publishing the TRUTH you don't like suddenly they are tied to your little Russia conspiracy theory that we KNOW is fake news."


If Twitter wanted to work with the NSA/CIA/whoever they could let these sites carry on and the moment they started being used to spread propaganda Twitter could hand control over to the CIA and let them carry on running the sites as before, but subtly countering the fake news.
What could Russia do? Go public with "They've taken over our fake Twitter feeds!"?
 
2018-07-12 08:25:17 PM  

Ant: Time to geoblock Russian IPs. I know they can get around it, but why make it easy?


Yeah I've been saying this for a while.  Make them use multi-hop routes with higher latency and lower bandwidth.
 
2018-07-12 09:02:49 PM  
This makes sense.  A family member of mine was murdered earlier in the year and we found Russian Television news coverage of the event in Texas.

Harlee: WickerNipple: erik-k: /Personally I'd like to see the Internet Research Agency's building mysteriously go up in flames...

Don't worry.  We'll probably do it to hide the evidence.

Remember the RAIN interview? That was deeply embarrassing to Putin, and I understand that the guy has disappeared. Old Vlad is not going to want any more tell-all interviews or books. Every one of those hackers, and probably their families as well, are going to die after this is all over.
[img.fark.net image 396x127]
The particular hell of this is that some of these guys are very smart people. Though the figured it out too late, they know what lies ahead. Imagine that kind of work environment.


At least 13 people were killed after Trump started receiving intelligence briefings in December of 2016.  Probably another 9 for every person we knew about as well.  I'm going to bet most of them were Russian patriots and were killed by Putin simply because he wanted to prevent loose ends.
 
2018-07-12 09:15:03 PM  

backhand.slap.of.reason: This makes sense.  A family member of mine was murdered earlier in the year and we found Russian Television news coverage of the event in Texas.Harlee: WickerNipple: erik-k: /Personally I'd like to see the Internet Research Agency's building mysteriously go up in flames...

Don't worry.  We'll probably do it to hide the evidence.

Remember the RAIN interview? That was deeply embarrassing to Putin, and I understand that the guy has disappeared. Old Vlad is not going to want any more tell-all interviews or books. Every one of those hackers, and probably their families as well, are going to die after this is all over.
[img.fark.net image 396x127]
The particular hell of this is that some of these guys are very smart people. Though the figured it out too late, they know what lies ahead. Imagine that kind of work environment.

At least 13 people were killed after Trump started receiving intelligence briefings in December of 2016.  Probably another 9 for every person we knew about as well.  I'm going to bet most of them were Russian patriots and were killed by Putin simply because he wanted to prevent loose ends.


Yep. I'm convinced that a few Farkers are IRA trolls. Maybe we should cut them a bit of slack? A kindness for Dead Men Walking? I mean, we're not barbarians, right?
 
2018-07-12 09:16:01 PM  

koder: On a side note, thanks Drew.  I'm not trying to blow smoke up your ass--NTTAWWT--but sites like Fark that haven't gotten up their own ass with automation/aggregation/customization/e​vilification/lazification are still, in my opinion, the gems of the internet.  You're no Reddit or Google News or Facebook News Feed, and I genuinely believe that's a good thing as it makes it harder for Evil to exploit.  ....well, unless you or your heirs decide to sell out and turn evil one day, then I'll be sad.  But hey, that's why a lot of us are bribing you with subscriptions, right? :P  Anyway, thanks again.

/...unless Fark has been the oldest of the sleeper sites?? Project Squirrel's Balls?
//*puts on tinfoil hat and eyes everyone suspiciously*


I know nothing about any of that.
 
2018-07-12 09:17:15 PM  

Carter Pewterschmidt: Twitter caught these Internet Research Agency accounts in the act and suspended them.

Seems a dumb move. Why not let them carry on believing they have been undetected and close them all down suddenly the moment they start being used to spread disinformation?   Closing them now only lets the Russians know they've been found out and gives them time to start new sites and improve their efforts to hide.


Hard to build a site from scratch, ensure it's not associated and caught the same way, and gain trust in less than 4 months.
 
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