Russian Disinformation Campaign Targets Summer Olympics in Paris

With its athletes barred from competing in the Summer Olympics under the country’s flag, Russia has turned its fury on the Games and this year’s host, Paris.

Russian propagandists have created an hourlong documentary, spoofed news reports and even mimicked French and American intelligence agencies to issue fake warnings urging people to avoid the Games, according to a report released on Sunday by Microsoft.

The report details the disinformation campaign created by a group the company calls Storm-1679. The campaign appears to have accelerated since March, flooding social media with short videos raising alarms about possible terrorist attacks and stoking fears about safety.

The operation, while aimed at the Games, is using various techniques to spread disinformation that could also be employed in European and U.S. elections.

American and French officials have tracked the campaign. One American official said that Russian disinformation, spread by the Kremlin via social media, continued to threaten the security of the United States and its allies.

The group has also tried to goad fact checkers into examining its claims, hoping to use the attention to spread the disinformation to new audiences as it is called out.

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