The Agency

US companies, journalists and communities are being targeted with hoaxes about false disasters including fake videos and photographs over email and Twitter. Adrian Chen details a fake report of an explosion at a chemicals plant in Louisiana and describes a It was “a highly coordinated disinformation campaign, involving dozens of fake accounts that posted hundreds of tweets “fake screenshots from CNN and local television stations and a Wikipedia page. Similar hoaxes have been tried with news of a US Ebola outbreak. Chen suggests the hoaxes may be the work of a Russian organization that has “industrialized” the art of trolling to destroy political opponents in Russia, Ukraine and overseas, suggests a former employee. The internet is no longer a reliable source in Russia, and the lack of trust could spread as the so-called trolls set up accounts on Facebook, Twitter to bait the unwitting. Chen concludes, “Russia’s information war might be thought of as the biggest trolling operation in history, and its target is nothing less than the utility of the internet as a democratic space.” – YaleGlobal

The Agency

From a nondescript office building in St. Petersburg, Russia, an army of well-paid “trolls” has tried to wreak havoc all around the internet – and in real-live US communities
Adrian Chen
Friday, June 5, 2015

Adrian Chen is a New York–based writer whose work has appeared in Wired, New York magazine, and the New York Times. He is a contributing editor for The New Inquiry and a founder of IRL Club, a regular gathering for people from the internet to meet in “real life.”  

© 2015 The New York Times Company

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