June 6, 2023

  • A Ukrainian woman uses pornography and gambling sites to tell the truth about Putin’s war in Ukraine.
  • Anatasiya Baydachenko, chief executive of the Ukrainian IAB, said the blocking rate of these sites was low.
  • censorship index chief editor Say you have to go “all in” to combat misinformation.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine forced millions to take up arms against Vladimir Putin’s army, but others fought in less conventional ways. Anastasia Bedachenko is one of them.

The CEO of Ukraine’s Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is using ads featuring still images and videos on pornography and gambling sites to tell Russians and Belarusians the truth about the conflict in Ukraine.

Advertising on these sites makes sense, Baydachenko told Insider, because it’s easy, affordable, and increases the chances that Russians and Belarusians will see them.

Despite the lack of a tracking system to assess effectiveness, she believes that about 80 percent reached Russians and Belarusians. “Adult and gambling sites have Russian audiences, and ad platforms can sell us that kind of traffic.”

While outreach isn’t too important, “it’s a tool that shouldn’t be ignored,” Baydachenko said. “We strongly believe that we should strive to deliver a truthful message to those who have embraced decades of state propaganda.”

Insiders reported shortly after the invasion that Putin’s disinformation was so effective that many Ukrainians were unable to convince their families in Russia that they had been attacked.

Those sites have lower ad-blocking rates compared to larger sites like YouTube, which have teams of moderators, she said. Her biggest challenge, however, is funding.

Using porn sites is a great way to reach Russians, Baydachenko said, but doesn’t rule out the larger platforms run by Meta and Google, even if their stricter policies make it harder for them to do so.

Jemimah Steinfeld, Editor-in-Chief censorship indexTo combat censorship, you need to “go all in”, says a nonprofit advocating for free speech.

However, she warned: “We should also be aware that when advertisements about war are seen, they may not always be received as expected.

“When you get a one-sided story, the other side can be dismissed as propaganda. It is for this reason that those advertising in Russia may choose more stories that are harder to ignore — like inflation .”

“Certainly, in the case of Facebook, it was seen as a threat big enough that Russia took action to stop it,” Steinfeld said.

In fact, Russia criticized Facebook for “restricting the official accounts of four Russian media outlets” Russian technology and communications regulator Roskomnadzor, said the day after Putin’s army invaded Ukraine.

Steinfeld added: “We’ve seen that social media can fight free speech — algorithms can be blunt weapons that can block as much critical information as misinformation. However, we shouldn’t underestimate how much it can provide us with war and information. role. Human rights violations.”

In May, Insider reported that Russian officials spent $8 million on VPNs that allow them to circumvent the country’s online censorship.

Baydachenko added: “There is no independent media, media traditionally called the opposition or alternatives are at least partly, if not entirely, from the state. There is no news on the air, only recordings – which is why we are reading about opportunistic TV News editors come with posters.”

Marina Ovsyannikova, Editor russian state channel 1 television He interrupted the channel’s main news program on March 14 with a sign: “Don’t believe the propaganda. They’re here to lie to you.”

“I’m sure Russia uses the same methods as the ex-KGB: blackmail, torture, psychological pressure, etc., to keep journalists obedient,” Bedachenko concluded.

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