January 30, 2023

  • A Ukrainian woman uses porn and gambling sites to tell the truth about Putin’s war in Ukraine.
  • Anatasiya Baydachenko, CEO of Ukraine’s IAB, says the ban rates on these sites are lower.
  • censorship index Editor in Chief He says you should “throw everything at him” to combat misinformation.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has forced millions to take up arms against Vladimir Putin’s forces, but others are fighting in less conventional ways. Among them is Anastasia Baidashenko.

The CEO of Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Ukraine is using ads featuring static images as well as videos on porn and gambling sites in an effort to tell Russians and Belarusians the truth about the conflict in Ukraine.

Baydachenko told Insider that advertising on these sites made sense because it’s easy, affordable, and increases the chance for Russians and Belarusians to see it.

Although there is no tracking system for evaluating effectiveness, she believes that about 80% reached Russians and Belarusians. “Adult and gambling sites have a Russian audience, and ad platforms can sell us that traffic.”

Although the outreach was not very large, Baidachenko said, it was “another tool” that should not be dismissed. “We strongly believe that we must try to deliver honest messages to those who have gone through decades of government propaganda.”

Shortly after the invasion, Insider reported that Putin’s disinformation was so effective that many Ukrainians were unable to convince their families in Russia that they were under attack.

She said lower ad blocking rates are low on these sites, compared to larger sites like YouTube that have teams of brokers. Her biggest challenge is funding, though.

Baydachenko said using porn sites is a good way to reach Russians, but he didn’t rule out much larger platforms run by Meta and Google even if their strict policies make it more difficult for them to do so.

Jemima Steinfeld, Editor in Chief censorship indexTo fight censorship, she said, you have to “throw everything at her.”

She cautioned, however: “We must also be aware that when you see advertisements about war, you may not always get the intended reception.

“When you get a story from one side, the other side can be considered propaganda. That’s why those who place ads in Russia may choose more stories that are hard to dismiss – like inflation.”

“Certainly in the case of Facebook, it was seen as a big enough threat that Russia moved to block it,” Steinfeld said.

Indeed, Russia criticized Facebook for “restricting the official accounts of four Russian media outlets”, Roskomnadzor, the Russian technology and communications regulator, He said the day after Putin’s forces invaded Ukraine.

Steinfeld added: “We’ve seen that social media can work against freedom of expression – algorithms can be blunt tools, withholding as much important information as misinformation. But, we should not underestimate their role in informing us of war and human rights abuses. “.

In May, Insider reported that Russian officials spent $8 million on VPNs that allowed them to evade state censorship of the internet.

Baidachenko added: “There is no independent media or media that is traditionally called opposition or alternative, it is at least partially – if not completely – directed by the state. There is no news on the air, only a recording – which is why we keep our smiles while reading about the editor Pushy TV news comes on air with a poster.

Marina Ovsyannikova, editor at The first Russian state TV channel He had interrupted the channel’s main news program on March 14 with a sign that read: “Don’t believe the propaganda. They’re lying to you here.”

Baidachenko concluded, “I am sure that Russia uses the same methods as the former KGB: blackmail, torture, psychological pressure and more to make journalists obedient.”

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