Scottish National Party politician Douglas Chapman has claimed that 77th Brigade are “attacking and undermining” people in Scotland.
Essentially, it is being claimed that the British Army are engaged in operations online against British citizens, there has however been no proof offered that this is actually happening.
In a now deleted Tweet, Douglas Chapman MP posted:
There’s 77th Brigade and @InitIntegrity operatives for starters. In Scotland they are already highly organised and attacking and undermining our democratic choices. All paid for by the British State and the UK tax-payer. https://t.co/iHz9Dw4Sxk
— Douglas Chapman MP 🏴 (@DougChapmanSNP) August 22, 2019
77th Brigade specialise in “non-lethal” forms of psychological warfare, using social media including Facebook and Twitter to fight with information in response to external factors, like Russian misinformation.
Their target is Russian propaganda, propaganda that is notably very active around NATO troops deployed to the Baltics alleging that the soldiers there are criminals and rapists. The point of units like 77th Brigade is to counter this kind of threat.
Russia is at the forefront of information warfare in the modern age, utilising an array of organisations and strategies to spread disinformation to further national strategy but how are they doing it?
The most effective instrument in this effort appears to be Russia Today. The organisation has been frequently described as a propaganda outlet for the Russian government and media regulator Ofcom has repeatedly found RT to have breached rules on impartiality, and of broadcasting “materially misleading” content.
In the paper ‘Computational Propaganda in Russia: The Origins of Digital Misinformation’ Sergey Sanovich argues that the digital propaganda of the Russian government seeks to insulate Putin’s leadership from any domestic challengers and aid in his foreign policy ventures, which increasingly sets Russian interests off against the West.
“It’s argued that Russia could be on a mission to restore its Soviet or imperial glory and to prevent liberal democratic values from taking root in the Russian political system.
Yet the tools used are precisely the ones developed in the most internationally competitive part of the Russian economy that emerged during the liberal 1990s and (until recently) was not subject to heavy-handed interventions by the government: the online media and tech sector.”
The paper concludes that the fact that bots and trolls thrive in the low-trust, anything goes, prove-it-on-the-spot environment. People share sensational and alarmist headlines without much verification more often on social media than any other medium.