Yandex Media, Disinformation Board, Looted Art, More: Ukraine Update, Afternoon, April 28, 2022


TechCrunch: Yandex signs deal with VK to sell its media products, News and Zen. “In further fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Yandex, the company that’s sometimes referred to as the ‘Google of Russia’, has signed a term sheet to sell its media division to VKontakte (VK), aka the local Facebook equivalent. Yandex confirmed it has signed a term sheet to divest its news aggregator (News) and blogging/infotainment platform (Zen) with VK today. But it declined to provide further detail on the transaction that’s been agreed with VK, including financial terms.”

Associated Press: Disinformation board to tackle Russia, migrant smugglers . “The Department of Homeland Security is stepping up an effort to counter disinformation coming from Russia as well as misleading information that human smugglers circulate to target migrants hoping to travel to the U.S.-Mexico border.”


Coda: Fleeing Russian bombs while battling Facebook. A Meta problem Ukrainian journalists did not need.. “Facebook says it’s fighting disinformation and blocking Russian propaganda. But independent newsrooms in eastern Ukraine say they’re being restricted under the same rules.”

Baltic News Network: Police Chief: Russia might use 9 May celebrators for propaganda. “The people who think about coming to Victory Park on 9 May to lay flowers should keep in mind that Russian propaganda will use them for stories about people supporting the Kremlin, said Chief of Latvia’s State Police Armands Ruks in an interview to TV3 programme 900 seconds on 28 April.”


Ukrinform: Invaders steal over 2,000 exhibits from Mariupol museums. “The invaders took more than 2,000 exhibits from Mariupol museums to the temporarily occupied Donetsk, including the 1811 Gospel and more than 200 unique medals. This was announced on Telegram by the Mariupol City Council, Ukrinform reports.”

Reporters Without Borders: Russian troops in Ukraine are compiling lists of journalists for questioning. “As Russian soldiers in the mostly occupied Zaporizhzhia region draw up ‘lists of leading local figures to be kidnapped’ and search for journalists in order to make them collaborate or to silence them, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reminds the Russian authorities that targeting journalists is a war crime.”

Interfax News, and machine-translated from Russian: Twitter fined 3 million rubles. for refusing to remove swastika posts. “The Moscow World Court of the Tagansky District found Twitter guilty of an administrative offense in refusing to remove posts banned in the Russian Federation with instructions for preparing Molotov cocktails and Nazi swastikas, an Interfax correspondent reports from the courtroom on Thursday.”

Associated Press: A Chilling Russian Cyber Aim in Ukraine: Digital Dossiers. “Ukrainian agencies breached on the eve of the Feb. 24 invasion include the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which oversees the police, national guard and border patrol. A month earlier, a national database of automobile insurance policies was raided during a diversionary cyberattack that defaced Ukrainian websites. The hacks, paired with prewar data theft, likely armed Russia with extensive details on much of Ukraine’s population, cybersecurity and military intelligence analysts say. It’s information Russia can use to identify and locate Ukrainians most likely to resist an occupation, and potentially target them for internment or worse.”


Peace Research Institute Oslo: Digital Humanitarianism in a Kinetic War: Taking Stock of Ukraine. “The war in Ukraine – which can be described as an info-kinetic conflict – is the first war in a society with a relatively mature digital economy, a substantial tech sector (including a diaspora tech sector) and a high adoption rate of technology and digital platforms. From a peace and conflict studies perspective, as of mid-spring 2022, the war in Ukraine can be understood as an information war, a war through digital diplomacy, a cyberwar, and the first war where Big Tech has actively taken a side.”

The Conversation: How to protect your family from horrific news images – and still stay informed. “I am a trauma psychiatrist and researcher who works with refugees, survivors of torture and human trafficking and first responders. In my work, I hear detailed stories of suffering from my patients that are painful to be privy to and that can have a negative impact on me and my colleagues. Through these experiences and my training, I have learned ways to protect myself from too much emotional impact while staying informed and helping my patients.”

New Republic: Life Behind Russia’s Veil of Misinformation. “The current clash over truth, fiction, and everything in between has expanded the thousands of miles that physically divide parts of my family, so much so that these days, it often feels as if we reside on different planets. I’ve lived in the U.S. since the age of 4; I decided to become a citizen and build my life here. My mother and brother moved back to Moscow when I was in my late teens. Over the years, we’ve grown used to relying on technology to keep in touch. But while it’s never been easier to stay connected, I no longer know how much of the conversations we have with one another is real.”

Poynter: What a database of fact checks about the war in Ukraine can teach us about misinformation. “Ukraine Facts, an initiative that gathered fact checks about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, gave researchers access to a repository of data on the war. A study out of Kosovo has done just that, gleaning valuable insights into the sphere of mis- and disinformation. The study, conducted by International Fact-Checking Network verified signatory in partnership with Hasan Prishtina University, uses Ukraine Fact’s database to examine data related to false information spread, both in Kosovo and the rest of the world.”

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