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The Supply of Disinformation Will Soon Be Infinite

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Someday soon, the reading public will miss the days when a bit of detective work could identify completely fictitious authors. Consider the case of “Alice Donovan.” In 2016, a freelance writer by that name emailed the editors of CounterPunch, a left-leaning independent media site, to pitch a story. Her Twitter profile identified her as a journalist. Over a period of 18 months, Donovan pitched CounterPunch regularly; the publication accepted a handful of her pieces, and a collection of left-leaning sites accepted others.

Then, in 2018, the editor of CounterPunch received a phone call from The Washington Post. A reporter there had obtained an FBI report suggesting that Alice Donovan was a “persona account”—a fictitious figure—created by the Main Directorate, the Russian military-intelligence agency commonly known as the GU. Skeptical of the Russia link, but concerned about having potentially published content from a fake person, the CounterPunch editors pored over Donovan’s oeuvre, which spanned topics as varied as Syria, Black Lives Matter, and Hillary Clinton’s emails. They found her to be not only suspicious but also a plagiarist: Some of the articles bearing her byline appeared to have been written instead by another woman, Sophia Mangal, a journalist affiliated with something called the Inside Syria Media Center.

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John Phillips/Life Magazine via Getty / Arsh Raziuddin / The Atlantic
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Click the link below for the article:

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/09/future-propaganda-will-be-computer-generated/616400/

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