This sounds like much to do about nothing:
Russian trolls and others aligned with the Kremlin are injecting disinformation into streams of online content flowing to American military personnel and veterans on Twitter and Facebook, according to an Oxford University study released Monday.
The researchers found fake or slanted news from Russian-controlled accounts are mixing with a wide range of legitimate content consumed by veterans and active-duty personnel in their Facebook and Twitter news feeds. These groups were found to be reading and sharing articles on conservative political thought, articles on right-wing politics in Europe and writing touting various conspiracy theories. [Washington Post]
Sounds scary right that the US military is being influenced by Russian misinformation? Here is what the study really found out:
The kind of information shared by and with veterans and active-duty personnel span a wide range, with liberal political content also common, though not as common as conservative political content. The online military community, the researchers found, also shared links about sustainable agriculture, mental health issues such as addiction, and conspiracy theories.
No one subject dominated the online content flowing among these communities, but the largest individual categories dealt with military or veteran matters. Russian disinformation was a smaller but significant and persistent part of the overall information flow.
So basically the Russian disinformation was irrelevant. This article could not even cite one piece of disinformation that had any effect on veterans. The Washington Post even headlines this story with “Russian operatives used Twitter and Facebook to target veterans and military personnel, study says”. The Washington Post could have more accurately titled this article “Study Finds Veterans Follow Military and Veterans Matters Online; Russian Disinformation Has No Proven Effect”.
The bottom line is that the Internet is filled with disinformation and people need to use critical thinking to sift through what is real and what is not.