Propamon: a new robot searching for propaganda


Propastop volunteers have been busy for some time developing something new. Now it is ready – get acquainted with Propamon, a monitoring robot or bot, which looks for news related to Estonia in Russian media.

Propamon is designed to allow anyone to keep an eye on things written about Estonia in the Russian media. So far receiving alerts on our eastern neighbour’s press has been a kind of secret science available to only few individuals. To do this, you needed to be able to arrange an online Russian internet search and orientation in their media landscape. Often there are small hindrances such as a lack of Russian symbols on your keyboard. Bot helps to overcome these difficulties and make it easy to find news, making it much more operative and easier to track anti-Estonian media attacks.

In addition to finding news, Propamon counts the abundance of usage and allows searching the news using keywords. The robot gives a colour-coded signal when the number exceeds the standard and keeps a tracking overview of the current trend. It can be seen that during the past half year the graph has been red twice: on December 18 due to the return of Estonian smoked sprats to the Russian marketplace and on March 26, when Estonia joined the countries expelling Russian diplomats.

The bot is free to use on the website for anyone to do without having to log in or otherwise identify yourself. The monitoring results can be freely used in any texts – the only requirement is to refer to and mark Propamon as the source of information and to add a direct link. Please note that the copyrights of the monitored news belong to the channels that originally published them.

Propamon bases its Russian media monitoring using feeds in RSS and Twitter. Propamon cannot follow channels where there are no streams or news that is not shared in streams. The list of trackable channels is available on the bot website and it will be updated in the future.

Of course, we have a development plan for Propamon. We plan to use the bot to search Estonian related news worldwide in many languages. We also want to teach the bot to search out news related to Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Finland and Sweden from the media. Currently the robot searches in the Estonian, Russian and English languages, in the future other languages will be added.

If you want to contribute to the development of Propamon, send us your thoughts on the feedback form or on Facebook.

Photos: intruth/Flckr/CC/photomontage; screenshots of the website.