I decided to take another look at the data I dumped the other day, using referrers as a way of identifying flows of information between websites that together comprise a global network of wingnuts, starting with ZeroHedge. Below you will find two subsets of that data, but before we get to them I'd like to comment on the value of exercises such as this. While studying the flow of disinformation between and among sites may be interesting, it is also potentially quite useful. To the extent any of these sites are involved in supporting Russian objectives that run counter to Western interests, they - and more to the point, the people who operate them - should be of interest to the security services of the Western countries in which they live, work, and acquire services related to their websites. At the same time, one frequently finds direct links from these websites to Russia and individuals in Russia clearly associated with the Kremlin and Russian intelligence services. It is always worthwhile to look for criminal activity occurring on the periphery of such websites, particularly on the backend of the operations, involving people who host the sites, register the domain names, and otherwise provide logistical support. And finally, many sites involved in Kremlin disinformation work now solicit donations online, raising the distinct possibility that the online fundraising accounts are being used to move or launder funds. Take a close look at my recent posts regarding Southfront and Eurasia Daily for examples of some of what I'm referring to.
Figure one is a closer look at the core referrer network associated with ZeroHedge, with the links color-coded to indicate links out from ZeroHedge, links into ZeroHedge, and links between the other sites.
Figure two is a subset of the network with a strong component of sites flagged by the @EUvsDisinfo team as propagating Kremlin disinformation. I'll be doing more on this.
© 2015-2016 Andrew Aaron Weisburd