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The failure of Russian propaganda in Ukraine and Russian PsyOps ads on Facebook

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Two 25-minute talks:
  1. The failure of Russian propaganda by Jon Roozenbeek (Cambridge): Russia’s war in Ukraine is entering its 11th year. From the start, propaganda has been a key component of Russia’s military strategy, with the Kremlin sparing no expense to build legitimacy for its invasion and confuse audiences worldwide about its motivations. In this talk, Jon Roozenbeek discusses his forthcoming book, Propaganda and Ideology in the Russian-Ukrainian War (2024, Cambridge University Press). He will focus on Russia’s extensive propaganda campaign in Donbas after 2014, which served as a pre-amble to the 2022 full-scale invasion. He argues that this campaign failed in its primary goal, namely to convince Russian-speaking Ukrainians of Russia as an attractive alternative to Ukrainian identity. This failure went unrecognised by the Kremlin, which in part explains its gross miscalculations on the physical battlefield.
  2. Russian PsyOps ads on Facebook: a case study using data analytics to uncover manipulation network by Tetiana Haiduchyk, Uliana Hresko and Anton Dek (Trementum and Judge Business School): While analysing the Russian psychological operations in Ukraine conducted via Facebook advertisement, the authors discovered ads originating from pages whose names conformed to specific naming patterns such as “adjective synonymous to ‘nice’ + two or three letters and one number”. To investigate this and other patterns, they compiled lists of potential combinations and conducted Facebook searches, which allowed to identify 344,552 Facebook public pages likely belonging to a botnet. The authors then conducted a manual review of a 400-page sample to assess the number of genuine pages in the dataset, the estimate is that only 1.25% of pages in the sample are false positives.

This talk is part of the Social Psychology Seminar Series (SPSS) series.

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