Twitter en propaganda

Boris Vdovenko: “Loss of Sensation” film advertisement on Pushkin Square in Moscow (May 1935)
De complete film: «Гибель сенсации»

Propaganda is het recept voor een democratische samenleving om ze aan de juiste inzichten te helpen. Zo werden de Verenigde Staten tijdens de Eerste Wereldoorlog bekeerd tot een oorlog voeren overzee. Dat beviel zo goed dat op deze weg voortgegaan werd. Een oorlogseconomie brengt welvaart en smaakt naar meer.
Wat verder nog van node is? Infiltreren in instituties, de vakbeweging bijvoorbeeld, maar zeker ook in culturele. Subsidiëring en sponsoring van welgevallige media, en bovenal reclame, reclame, reclame van en over de “vrije markt”. Zo vrij zijn onze media, zonder zouden ze doodeenvoudig in de huidige vorm niet bestaan. Bezie deze sites eens zonder adblocker: WHIG STANDARD of de FAZ: “Freie Fahrt für freie Bürger”, zoals dat in het Duits zo mooi heet.
Dergelijke bladen berichten nauwgezet over onze politiek-economische verworvenheden, dat spreekt. Objectief zoals het hoort. Wie dat gelooft is volkomen naïef, dom of een collaborateur voor smerige zaken. De vrije media zullen er alles aan doen niet in hun eigen contradicties verwikkeld te raken en wijzen, zoals het de heersende PC verlangt, in de andere richting. Immers democratie is een groot goed, zolang het volk niet leert welke mogelijkheden we ter beschikking hebben om een betere, veiligere en rechtvaardigere wereld te scheppen. In deze gaan lieden, zoals de auteur van het volgend artikel, voorop. Ze noemen zich sociaaldemocraat. Ze zorgen voor “brood en spelen” en verder mondje dicht.



Geoffrey P. Johnston

“Propaganda is a very virulent, corrosive force, because a lot of people who are victims of it don’t even know that it’s happening to them,” former Canadian diplomat and Russia expert Chris Alexander warns.

According to Alexander, Twitter, the microblogging social media website, is “moving very, very quickly in all the wrong directions,” allowing Russian disinformation to be disseminated unchecked, fuelling societal polarization and imperilling democracy.

Are propaganda and disinformation tools of the Putin regime?

“Absolutely,” replied Alexander, who served as Canada’s ambassador to Afghanistan and also worked on Canada-Russia relations for many years during his career as a diplomat. In fact, at one point in his career, he functioned as “the No. 2” in the Canadian embassy in Moscow. He eventually left diplomacy for a career in politics, serving as an MP and immigration minister in the government of then Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Most democratic states “have been late in understanding the importance, the centrality of information warfare, cyberwarfare, propaganda, to Russia’s global effort to subvert democracy and as a means of supporting their kinetic operations, their aggression in their immediate neighbourhood, which is, these days, first and foremost, in Ukraine,” Alexander told the Whig-Standard in an in-depth interview. Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014 and subsequently illegally annexed Crimea. And in February 2022, Russian forces launched a full-scale of invasion of Ukraine, waging a genocidal war against the Ukrainian people.  

However, Alexander observed that Ukraine has been very effective in countering Russian information warfare. Similarly, he said that Estonia is also attuned to the threat, hosting the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence.

“Virtually every country that is farther away from Russia’s borders is behind on these issues. And that certainly includes Canada, and it also includes the United States,” he lamented.


Twitter, purchased in October 2022 by far-right billionaire Elon Musk, is “awash with Russian directed bots,” Alexander said. And the job of those automated programs is to support Moscow’s propaganda goals.

“Right now, we have, thanks to new ownership at Twitter,” almost every pro-Ukraine account coming under “attack by massive numbers of paid assets that Russia directs on the social media platform,” Alexander alleged.  

According to an April 14 report by BBC’s Global Disinformation Team, “hundreds of Russian and Chinese state propaganda accounts are thriving on Twitter after Elon Musk wiped out the team that fought these networks.” BBC also reports that the mass termination of Twitter employees has left the social media company with only a “skeleton crew.” As a result, “Twitter does not have resources to swiftly detect, attribute and take down this foreign propaganda.”

“Twitter and other social media platforms are not, in fact, primarily social media platforms,” Alexander asserted. “I would argue that they are playgrounds for Russian propaganda. … Under Elon Musk, obviously, that’s gotten much worse.”

What is your reaction to Musk’s lifting of restrictions on Kremlin-affiliated Twitter accounts?

“I think it’s reprehensible,” the former diplomatic responded bluntly. “It is straightforwardly lending a hand to hate speech, which is illegal in this country and many other jurisdictions.”

Regulate or ban Twitter

Is it time to ban Twitter?

“It may be,” Alexander allowed. “But I think that even before that kind of step is considered, there are things that we can do in the short term that seem obvious to me. We have laws in this country about hate speech. If Twitter is propagating hate speech, they should be held accountable. We have banned RT and other propaganda channels from Canadian cable television.”

In addition, he suggested that social media could be brought under the Broadcasting Act, which prohibits hate speech on broadcast television, cable and radio.

Earlier this month, Germany’s Federal Office of Justice (BfJ) announced legal proceedings against Twitter for allegedly failing to remove illegal material — including hate speech, threats, defamation, antisemitism — from the microblogging site.

Public broadcasters

Twitter recently labelled NPR as “state-affiliated media.” The editorially independent American public broadcaster objected, because the designation was “the same term it uses for propaganda outlets in Russia, China and other autocratic countries.” Musk subsequently changed NPR’s account designation to “government-funded media.”

According to an April 12 post on the NPR website, the private, non-profit company “receives less than one per cent of its $300-million annual budget from the federally funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting.” In response to the designation, NPR became “the first major news organization to go silent on the social media platform.”

When Twitter labelled BBC as “government-funded media,” the British public broadcaster pushed back. And for whatever reason, the faltering social media company changed the designation to “publicly funded.”

On April 11, Conservative Party of Canada Leader Pierre Poilievre took to Twitter to attack the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. “We must protect Canadians against disinformation and manipulation by state media,” Poilievre tweeted. “That is why I’m asking @Twitter @elonmusk to accurately label CBC as ‘government-funded media.’”

On April 16, Twitter designated CBC as “government-funded media.” In response, Poilievre joyfully tweeted: “CBC officially exposed as ‘government-funded media.’ Now people know that it is Trudeau propaganda, not news.” And the leader of the official Opposition also urged readers to sign a petition “to save $1 billion & defund the CBC.”

The next day, the CBC News Alerts account on Twitter announced: “CBC/Radio-Canada has paused activities on its corporate and news Twitter accounts, after the social media platform put a ‘government-funded media’ label on its @CBC account, in its latest move to stamp public broadcasters with designations.”

What is your reaction to the labelling of public broadcasters?

“I think it’s outrageous,” Alexander responded. “Because it implies that these outlets are under government editorial control, which they are not. And it implies equivalence with state-controlled propaganda outlets like (Moscow-controlled) RT or (Qatari-owned) Al Jazeera and others that do have some degree of government control of their editorial line.”

Public broadcasters empower “qualified journalists to have the editorial independence and the resources to bring the truth to the public,” Alexander explained. “Every country that is successfully resisting Russian-sponsored propaganda at the moment, and, indeed, Chinese and other forms of propaganda, has a strong public broadcaster.”

Pierre Poilievre

Poilievre urged Musk to designate CBC as government-funded media. What was your reaction to that?

“I didn’t agree with it,” the former Conservative politician stated. “I thought it was ridiculous to be calling on someone like Musk to help in the fight against disinformation; he is part of the problem. And any political leader who doesn’t see that isn’t really fighting disinformation. They’re playing political games.”

Alexander also disagrees with Poilievre’s call to defund the CBC. “I would never be part of a government that tried to make it so,” he declared. Defunding the CBC would be the “wrong thing to do in an environment where Russia, China and others are engaged in information warfare and propaganda on this scale.”

Democracy under threat

Focusing on the so-called Freedom Convoy that occupied Ottawa in February 2022 and blockaded Canadian-American border crossings at Windsor, Ont., and Coutts, Alta., Alexander alleged that the movement was heavily influenced and funded by Russia. The Russians “very much wanted Canada to be distracted as their full-scale invasion (of Ukraine) was unleashed,” he claimed.

Unfortunately, too many Canadians, “including the current leader of the (official) Opposition failed to see this ‘active measures,’ as the Russians call it, for what it was,” Alexander said. “They failed to see its connection to larger geopolitical events. … I have never seen a case where Russian influence operations had a greater impact on the Canadian political area,” he added.

“The Russians have the gloves off in this current phase of information war,” Alexander warned. Their goal is to radicalize Canadian politics, disorient the electorate, and “prevent us from giving Ukraine what it needs to have victory.”


“As long as Elon Musk is in charge, it seems like Twitter will be synonymous with hate, extremism and a platform for dictatorships,” Alexander said.

The Whig-Standard contacted Twitter and Pierre Poilievre’s office for comment. Neither had responded by deadline.


Follow Geoffrey P. Johnston on Mastodon


WHIG STANDARD21 april 2023

Een ps…
Eerlijk is eerlijk, verban dan ook alle “democratische” propagandakanalen in het Westen. Wat blijft dan over op Twitter?

Voor het attenderen op het bovenstaande gaat mijn speciale dank uit naar Dr. J. Horn, socioloog en jurist te Amsterdam. Hij weet echt van onecht te onderscheiden.
Aan bronvermelding doet Horn niet. Dit bericht haalt hij uit de TL van Geoffrey P. Johnston:




Uitgelichte foto: bron

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