The US State Department Global Engagement Center released a report named as Russia’s Pillars of Disinformation and Propaganda.
The document notes that Russia is a major threat in terms of disinformation and propaganda. The report also discusses a Crimea-based new agency News Front which was registered by Russian state regulator Roskomnadzor.
"News Front’s parent company is Media Group News Front, co-founded by Konstantin Knyrik, the head of News Front. According to Knyrik, News Front was originally called Crimean Front, and was established to provide informational support for Russia’s attempted annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula. Following the events of 2014, Crimean Front became South-Eastern Front and eventually evolved into News Front.
News Front operates a multi-lingual website, publishing content in Slovak, Georgian, Hungarian, French, Serbian, Spanish, German, Bulgarian, English, and Russian and claiming to have editorial branches in Bulgaria, Serbia, Germany, France, the UK, Georgia, and Hungary", - reads the report.
According to the Global Engagement Center, News Front publishes disinformation articles about the conflict in Ukraine, annexation of Crimea, US elections, NATO and coronavirus pandemic.
The report also notes that Facebook removed News Front's account for violating the company's policy in 2020. In 2020 May, News Front's Youtube channels were also removed. In addition, News Front also had its Twitter account blocked for "violating the rules"
.According to the report, Georgia-based civil society organization ISFED concluded that "News Front’s Facebook activity in the country included theft of platform users’ identities".
"It detailed News Front’s efforts “instigating antagonism and aggression among Georgian Facebook users, dividing the society... creating political polarization” and “employing a range of tactics to spread anti-Western, pro Russian messages", - reads the report.