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Bounties, Resources, and more to come
The extent of Russian disinformation operations is well known. It sprawls from the political hard left (think tankies calling Russia anti-imperialist or communist) over to the populist right (think Bannon and Tucker Carlson defending Putin) with all kinds of weirdness singularity in between. So as Russian chauvinism reaches a continued low with their invasion of Ukraine, we are seeking to uncover, and support you to uncover, more of these threads in our data. To do so we will:
Overview our data
Constantly add new relevant sources
Share our sources
Archive media (images, videos, and media) from select Telegram channels
Bounty new leads and articles
SMAT data stores are quickly circling in on a billion records. This is massive and as such, it’s important to break the data down into usable leads. SMAT, both in the free public services and our private premium toolings, is designed to do just this. The first filter we apply is to search all messages that contain the words “Russia” or Ukraine (in English and Cyrillic letters) over the last 7 days across several different platforms. The platforms in our collection with the greatest mention of these terms are 4chan, Telegram, Rumble, Gettr, and the Win network (though all of our channels have some chatter). Obviously more advanced investigations would filter for more complex combinations of terms as well as expanded lists of terms (ie. Donetsk, cruise missile, Киев). As mentioned, we are also archiving images and videos, however we have not yet set up a content delivery network for these, and as such access to these collections will be analyzed on a case by case basis. However, we hope that our records help to verify the veracity of other media stores in future war crimes proceedings.
SMAT indexes over 16k unique Telegram channels. Though we have used automated methods (such as snowballing from seed lists) to discover new channels, we also manually add channels and flag them with greater context. In efforts to support researchers and compile the many disparate lists floating around, we are releasing and are maintaining a public list of telegram channels related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. At the time of writing we have almost 150 channels related to the conflict (ie. government accounts, state disinfo accounts, war reporting, etc). We have labeled the known stance and language of as many as possible and will be bountying support for greater context. Use care and discretion as many of these are known disinformation vectors controlled by the Russian state, and others may be sharing content that has not been adequately geo- and chronolocated. We encourage you all to do this work, and to share what you find and how you found it, publicly and transparently.
We are seeking to activate our networks of researchers around this common cause of investigating fascism and imperialism from the Kremlin. As a collective we are making an opportunity for people to support these efforts. As such we are offering:
Blog posts: $500 for short blog posts using our data
can be contextualized with outside sources
$50/hour for updating context information in our public Telegram list (up to 10 hours max). Ukrainian/Russian language skills are strongly preferred.
Maximum of $2500 total spent on this project
Note: Payment is contingent upon SMAT’s utilization of the materials.
Though we are open to other categories, we are especially seeking content that exposes the following with regard to the Russian invasion:
Far-right, syncretic fascist, or conspiracy posting, trends, and networks
Can be analyzing content from any country or globally
We are primarily looking at pro-russian threats but are open to investigations of fascist supporters of UA as long as it does not launder or do a false equivalency with Russia's unjustified invasion or its false pretenses.
Suspected troll networks
Known state media
(etc. just pitch us)
Go to the Telegram Channels sheet for more context on Telegram channels recently added. Also note that we have many more channels than just the ones listed there. To add more channels request access to the sheet, tag or DM us on twitter, or reach out via email.
For some initial leads, we encourage you to check out the channels most mentioning Ukraine or Russia on Telegram. Notably, CIG and Bellum Acta are fascist, and there are multiple pro-Trump/QAnon/convoy channels, as well as other pro-Kremlin channels. Even just analyzing the content some of these could constitute a blog post or a lead.
For example, the above figure is a bar graph of Telegram channels mentioning Russia or Ukraine. Below we plot a similar bar graph which instead focuses on channels who have received the most views:
You could do similar searches across other platforms on our public app alone, without any programming skill. as shown in this link and dig into the results.
We especially welcome analyses that link across networks, or that highlight potential spread to mainstream platforms not covered by SMAT.
The attack on Ukraine is a brazen act of imperialism. It’s reckless and widely opposed (even or especially by Russians themselves). The disinformation surrounding it harkens to the tragedies that faced Syrians, whose cause was often ignored and slandered, not only because of Islamophobia and racism, but also by Russian hybrid warfare tactics including disinformation. We hope to support efforts at surfacing these chaos actors and their apologists (on the right and left) as a means of undermining the war machine. Reach out at info @ smat-app dot com or contact us on Twitter.