Sep 1, 2021
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Lying head-on: what fakes are spreading on the eve of the elections

In January-August 2021, almost 39 thousand fakes about the elections to the State Duma were revealed in Russia, according to the monitoring data of the Public Chamber (OP). About 3.8 thousand of them appeared during the period from July 8 to August 30, specified in the “League of Safe Internet”. These indicators are constantly growing and it is hardly worth counting on a decrease in the number of false reports, experts noted at a meeting of the OP on August 31. The most popular fakes are about the introduction of a lockdown after the elections, the mandatory vaccination of all participants in the electoral process and the abolition of video surveillance of the vote. The State Duma and the Federation Council fear that citizens may listen to what is written on the Internet. However, the methods of disseminating inaccurate information have not changed, the countries-sources of fakes have not changed, so methods of dealing with them have already been worked out.

False trail

On the last day of summer, the Public Chamber presented data on fakes that appeared on the Web this year. The study is timed to coincide with the upcoming Duma elections, which will take place on September 17-19. At the very beginning of the discussion, a member of the OP, director of the “League of Safe Internet” Yekaterina Mizulina spoke about the global trend of tightening legislation in the information sphere, but at the same time the trend towards an increase in the number of false messages on the Internet.

Since the beginning of July this year, we have recorded an active appearance of fakes about that election campaign., which takes place in Russia. They mainly affect the elections to the State Duma, but they also apply to regional elections. There are not very many launching points for such information yet – these are separate media and separate accounts, – noted Ekaterina Mizulina.

Photo: Izvestia / Pavel Volkov

She added that voting fakes are often spread from the territory of Ukraine, Poland and Latvia… From July 8 to August 30, League volunteers revealed 3.8 thousand false messages about the upcoming elections. According to the monitoring data of the Public Chamber for 2021 (January-August), the total number of fakes amounted to almost 39 thousand. The indicator is constantly growing, and one should not count on a decrease in activity on the eve of the Single Election Day. First Deputy Chairman of the OP commission for the development of the information community, media and mass communications Alexander Malkevich explained such a number of false messages by numerous re-posts.

– Fake is added and edited during re-posts, which leads to a shaft of false information on one topic. There are thousands of re-posts, but from the point of view of the law, each such message is a fake. That is why we get such huge numbers. but there are not so many fake launch points. These are separate media and accounts that carry out the “seeding”, – said Alexander Malkevich.

He also listed the main topics of fake messages: the introduction of a lockdown after September 19, mandatory vaccination for all participants in the electoral process and the alleged cancellation of video surveillance of the vote… All this is aimed at intimidating people and delegitimizing the electoral process, Alexander Malkevich added.

Back in July, it became known about a change in the broadcasting system of the voting process. Site records will only be available on the service portal. All political parties, their regional branches and candidates in single-mandate constituencies, election commissions, as well as public observation centers in the constituent entities, where anyone who has passed the necessary training can participate, will watch the voting process. Also, access to the video broadcast will be given to ombudsmen in the federal center and regions and the HRC under the President of the Russian Federation.

On August 30, the CEC discussed the new video surveillance procedure. According to the chairman of the CEC Ella Pamfilova, it will cover up to 98% of voters and 96% of polling stations.

Dangerous consequences

As noted by the head of the Center for the Study and Network Monitoring of the Youth Environment Denis Zavarzin, the dissemination of false information on the Internet can affect the mood of voters.

– Sometimes people start to believe it. The spread of such messages undermines the foundations of the constitutional order, the expert said.

Photo: Izvestia / Artem Korotaev

Nothing fundamentally new in the spread of fakes has appeared, stressed Andrei Klimov, chairman of the temporary committee of the Federation Council for the protection of state sovereignty, in a conversation with Izvestia. However, this still affects the lives of citizens.

– Many people perceive this as the truth. From various false messages, people can draw the wrong conclusions and make rash decisions., – the parliamentarian expressed fears.

Again, due to the credulity of the audience, some fakes are spreading, they added in the State Duma.

Many bloggers, ordinary users of social networks come up with their own versions of events and urge people to misperceive reality… It is very easy now to make a montage, for example, photographs and present information in order to slander someone. And people just see, believe and begin to disseminate further, ”Marina Mukabenova, deputy chairman of the Duma committee on information policy, information technology and communications, told Izvestia.

Help “Izvestia”

Elections to the State Duma of the eighth convocation are scheduled for the Single Voting Day on September 19, 2021. Due to the pandemic, they will take place over three days – September 17, 18 and 19. Also, the EDG should hold direct elections for the heads of nine constituent entities of the Russian Federation (in three more regions, deputies of legislative assemblies will elect the highest administrative persons) and 39 regional parliaments. In several regions, elections will also be held remotely. In the capital, 20 apartments and 100 cars will compete for online voting.

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