Social media in Ukraine hit harder by propaganda than elsewhere - Anders Fogh Rasmussen

Social media in Ukraine hit harder by propaganda than elsewhere - Anders Fogh Rasmussen
14 September 2018

Propagandists have a much stronger influence on social networks in Ukraine than in other countries, according to Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the founder of Rasmussen Global, secretary general of NATO (2009-2014) and prime minister of Denmark (2001-2009). Rasmussen was speaking at the 15th Yalta European Strategy (YES) Annual Meeting organized by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation.

Propagandists have a much stronger influence on social networks in Ukraine than in other countries, according to Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the founder of Rasmussen Global, secretary general of NATO (2009-2014) and prime minister of Denmark (2001-2009). Rasmussen was speaking at the 15th Yalta European Strategy (YES) Annual Meeting organized by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation.

“We were monitoring social networks when [Donetsk separatist leader, Oleksandr] Zakharchenko was killed in Donetsk. We were struck to learn that a third of conversations on certain social media platforms were controlled by accounts which were created for propaganda purposes only. According to our estimates, all conversations on social networks in Ukraine are prone to artificial influence in a much stronger manner than in other countries. This influence is 50% stronger than what we have been observing in other countries we monitor such as Sweden, Italy or Mexico,” Rasmussen said.

According to the former NATO chief, these technologies are aimed at undermining confidence in democratic institutions.

“This challenge is very serious all over the democratic world... Therefore, I want to set up a transnational committee for fair elections. We would like to work together with businesses, politicians and mass media on both sides of the Atlantic to find new solutions,” he said.

Rasmussen recalled that around 20 election campaigns were scheduled to be held in Western countries, including Ukraine, by 2020.

“Today we announced that our working group for Ukrainian elections will monitor election meddling in Ukraine. We will offer practical solutions to these problems. However, the best antidote against this influence is for citizens to understand that they have to take everything they see with a grain of salt and do the fact-checking,” he concluded.

The official Twitter handle of the 15th YES Annual Meeting is @yes_ukraine, and participants and followers can include the hash tag: #YESUkraine2018

Partners of 15th YES Annual Meeting:
Arawak Energy, Hillmont Partners, lifecell, International Renaissance Foundation, Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF).

Media partners of 15th YES Annual Meeting:
Dzerkalo Tyzhnya (DT.UA), European Pravda, ICTV, Liga.net, Novoye Vremya Strany (NV), PRYAMIY Channel, Radio NV, The Kyiv Post.

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Aleksander Kwaśniewski, President of Poland (1995-2005); Chairman of the Board, YES
Aleksander Kwaśniewski, President of Poland (1995-2005); Chairman of the Board, YES, 12th YES Annual Meeting, 2015
«This will be our contribution to the political debate about the future of Europe, Ukraine and the world. We want everybody to hear our voice: we need a dialogue, we need peace, we are against violence.»