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Our Take

Six RT en Español-backed channels have circumnavigated YouTube’s Russian state media ban and earned more than 38 million views, Research Analyst Joseph Bodnar finds in a new investigation. 

China’s messaging has had a convergence with Russia’s during the war in Ukraine, with Chinese state-backed media and officials downplaying Russian war crimes and giving prominence to Russian voices, Research Analyst Etienne Soula told RFE/RL. Read our report on Russia and China’s disinformation about Ukraine here. 

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News and Commentary

US intel assesses shifting Chinese, Russian interference strategies: The US intelligence community predicts that China’s interference operations will increasingly target local-level actors and Russia’s interference campaigns will use more proxy organizations, websites, and individuals that appear unconnected to the Kremlin. Managing Director David Salvo told the Dispatch, “The Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s assessment demonstrates that China has almost certainly been learning from Russia’s playbook to interfere in democracies beyond its borders. As has been thoroughly documented, Moscow has been microtargeting segments of the American electorate with information manipulation for years–from Cold War days through traditional media to the 2016 presidential election through social media. China’s attempts to influence key parliamentary races in the most recent Canadian federal election also shows that the Chinese Communist Party is already adopting a local strategy to interfere in democratic elections. There’s every reason to anticipate China will behave similarly in the United States in 2024.”

Election conspiracies drive states to leave program designed to combat voter fraud: Florida, Missouri, and West Virginia withdrew from the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a data-sharing consortium of more than 30 states that helps combat voter fraud by maintaining accurate lists of registered voters, after election deniers spread a series of conspiracy theories targeting the system. Elections Integrity Fellow David Levine said, “If you want more accurate voter rolls, there’s no better program out there right now than ERIC. States that leave this state-run, bipartisan voting integrity group are making it harder for themselves and the nation, more broadly, to conduct future elections that are accessible, secure, and trustworthy.”

In Case You Missed It

  • The German government plans to ban telecommunications operators from using components made by the Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE in their 5G networks.
  • Georgia’s ruling party withdrew a bill that would have required all organizations receiving more than 20% of their financial support from abroad to register as “foreign agents” after the legislation drew thousands of protesters.
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will appoint an independent rapporteur to investigate Chinese interference in Canada’s elections after opposition parties criticized the government’s response to China’s meddling during the 2021 elections.
  • Mexico’s armed forces used Pegasus spyware to spy on journalists and human rights activists investigating claims that soldiers killed innocent civilians, according to internal documents uncovered by two digital rights groups.
  • Arizona’s attorney general will sue Cochise County after it transferred voting oversight to the county’s recorder, a Republican with ties to prominent election deniers, following the resignation of the county’s elections director in January.
  • A significant data breach potentially exposed personal information on hundreds of members of Congress and their staff, leading the FBI to purchase some of the hacked material on the dark web, according to NBC News.

ASD in the News

Disinformation Wars: China, Russia Cooperating on Propaganda More Than Ever, Says Report. Research Analyst Etienne Soula quoted in RFE/RL

Digital Bridge: RT en Español — WhatsApp’s boss — Going Dutch on chips. Research Analyst Joseph Bodnar quoted in Politico EU  

China In Eurasia Briefing: What’s Beijing’s Next Move On Ukraine? Research Analyst Etienne Soula quoted in RFE/RL

Threats of the Foreign Influence Act – Assessments from Washington. Senior Vice President for Democracy Laura Thornton interviewed on VOA News 

“This will be the last nail in the coffin” – the foreign agents bill is discussed in Washington. Senior Vice President for Democracy Laura Thornton interviewed on VOA News

China supports Russia in information warfare. It adopts Kremlin interpretations and targets Africa. Research Analyst Etienne Soula quoted in Česká televise

Courage is to say what is. And to be who you are. ASD research highlighted in Welt

Quote of the Week

“Globally, foreign states’ malicious use of digital information and communication technologies will become more pervasive, automated, targeted, and complex during the next few years, further threatening to distort publicly available information and probably will outpace efforts to protect digital freedoms.”

  • The Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s 2023 Annual Threat Assessment of the Intelligence Community reads.

The views expressed in GMF publications and commentary are the views of the author alone.