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Nathalie Vogel comments on the EU Digital Services Act

Nathalie Vogel, Research Fellow, IWP Center for Intermarium Studies, was recently asked to comment on the fact that the EU Commission published a report that said the “reach and influence of Kremlin-backed accounts” had grown further in 2023 although the EU Digital Services Act imposes stricter rules on companies such as Meta and Twitter. This is the report.

Ms. Vogel said that: “aggressive online activism is the result of broader political influence operations. …The EU should be wary and attentive to the study’s findings.”

She also noted: “The Kremlin information war either creates mass movements in society or activates existing ones, penetrating them. What we now see on the Internet about Ukraine is the result of the reactivation of old pacifist networks, as well as infiltration of groups on the far left and far right of the political spectrum. At the same time, the Kremlin is cynically exploiting the so-called ‘war fatigue in Ukraine’ and economic problems. Of course, all this is especially dangerous during a period of campaigns before elections.”

Nathalie Vogel also said that all of these are “old Kremlin methods, but using modern technologies… Russian propaganda methods are extremely effective because they have been tested, adjusted and shaped over more than a hundred years… Russian information warfare is based on long-term observation of our democratic societies, on careful penetration into decision-making circles and on a clear understanding of the vulnerabilities of open societies… In addition to fake accounts, the Kremlin propaganda machine has successfully created a network of political multiplicators who work on all social networks. They create a strong base of supporters for online activism. The Kremlin has played the demographic card: for example, their campaign to win the hearts and minds of countries in the Global South (Latin America, Middle East, Africa, India, China) has been largely successful. The reason is that we got stuck in our Eurocentric approach and dropped the ball… So now more radical action is needed.”

She also said: “The next step is deplatforming. This will not prevent misinformation per se, but will only limit its spread for a short time. If the vectors are connected with political parties, then the role of other political parties is to combat the enemy’s disinformation… At the same time, we should start using modern technologies that everyone is talking about. The government must make every effort to develop the next generation of artificial intelligence that can systematically detect and combat widespread disinformation.”

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