Propaganda in December


Last year’s holiday month of December was rather modest in the writing of propaganda and information manipulation. The emphasis was on data and the writing of their misuse.

Last month, Postimees wrote about a study by US scientists that demonstrated that when they show people specific information about a controversial issue, they only remember the part that matches their own opinions. If the data does not support their existing views, they are not remembered and people tend to block out the given information. Delfi Forte wrote about the same study in December.

In December, ERR’s Novaator wrote in the news of a study at the London Business School which found that people who come in contact with fake news on a number of occasions are less likely to feel that sharing it causes ethical problems and consequently will not condemn the public manipulation of the news.

Johan Bäckman, a familiar figure with Propastop’s readers, is once again causing a sensation. In December, the Helsingin Sanomat wrote that Bäckman had founded the Editors Association as opposed to the existing Finnish Journalists Union and is trying to present it on Social Media as the credible umbrella organization for journalists. The fake association has appointed Juha Korhonen and Janus Putkonen, who are both associated with the scandalous MV newspaper to the board.

Andra Siibak, a lecturer in media studies at the University of Tartu, told Vikerraadio’s radio show “Huvitaja” how parents like to post pictures of their children on the internet, without realizing what this behaviour might bring. According to Siibak, just a few innocent photos posted by a parent a long time ago on Instagram can identify the child’s nursery school and location, their birthday as well as what the child’s favourite toys are, as well as when the parent’s are away at work and who their nanny is.

In December, Postimees and Delfi released a press release from If Insurance, according to which a study was conducted into information shared on Social Media and the resulting security risks. Although the size of the survey is not known, the results say that 50% of all Estonian Social Media users already share pictures while traveling and only a tenth do this after the trip.

On one of the December „Vikerhommik“ radio talk shows they discussed about money laundering and the collection of people’s data by banks. For example, Aivar Paul, head of money laundering prevention at LHV Bank was in the studio and said that banks are trying to reduce manpower and develop smart ware technology. „But as long as the technology is not that smart, individuals who are ordinary people in their finance dealings, who get paid at one regular job and spend most of that money every month can get caught up in the gears of the machine.

ERR wrote in December about a Facebook data leak. Namely, the Social Media giant Facebook announced that it is investigating reports of more than 267 million users’ names and phone numbers leaked from one database to the Internet.

In December, the Helsinki Sanomat newspaper published a large story on the development of meme culture in Finland. The article looked at how the creation and diffusion of political memes has gained momentum in Finland over the last decade.

In December, the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab published an analysis of a case in Latvia in which an attempt to distribute false information, that the Latvian government had set up a $ 60 million cyber security center. This was made through the distribution of counterfeit mail and with the assistance of fake accounts.

Photos: Screenshots of publications