The Russian Propaganda Nesting Doll: How RT is Layered Into the Digital Information Environment

Authors: Bret Schafer, Peter Benzoni, Kamila Koronska, Richard Rogers and Kevin D. Reyes

Published: 30 May 2024

Over the past year, ASD at GMF, the University of Amsterdam (UvA), and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) have collaborated to develop the Information Laundromat, an open-source tool to uncover content and metadata similarities between and among websites. This report, the second in a series of reports dedicated to exploring content laundering practices across the web, highlights the myriad pathways through which content from Russian state media website RT.com reaches audiences in Europe and the United States. Using the laundromat tool, we queried more than 1,500 RT articles published in 2023 and discovered roughly 400 domains–ranging from mirror sites and content aggregators to faux local news outlets and sites ostensibly focused on spirituality and men’s interests—that republished articles that were identical or nearly identical to those that originated on RT.com. In some cases, these sites were transparent or quasi-transparent about sourcing content from RT; in others, the provenance of the content was opaque or seemingly intentionally masked. In all cases, these sites allowed Russian state media to reach a wider audience, including in the EU, where RT itself is banned.

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT

Pulling Back the Curtain: An Exploration of YouTube’s Recommendation Algorithm

This is the executive summary of ISD’s Pulling Back the Curtain series which explores different aspects of YouTube’s recommendation algorithm. The series consists of four separate investigations examining the recommendations sent to eight U.S.-based YouTube accounts registered with varying ages, genders, and interests over one month. This report summarizes the findings across all four investigations and provides an overview of the project and platform policy recommendations.

Investigation 4: Spanish-Language News Consumers

This is the fourth investigation in ISD’s Pulling Back the Curtain series which explores different aspects of YouTube’s recommendation algorithm. The series consists of four separate investigations examining the recommendations sent to eight U.S.-based YouTube accounts registered with varying ages, genders, and interests over one month. This report examines the recommendations sent to two accounts with an interest in Spanish langauge news.