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Russia’s Favored Outlet Is an Online News Giant. YouTube Helped.


"YouTube — the world’s most-visited video site, owned by one of the most powerful and influential corporations in America — played a crucial role in helping build and expand RT, an organization that the American intelligence community has described as the Kremlin’s “principal international propaganda outlet” and a key player in Russia’s information warfare operations around the world."

Why is this important?

"While Kremlin-aligned agents secretly built fake Facebook groups to foment political division and deployed hordes of Twitter bots to stoke criticism of Hillary Clinton, RT worked out in the open, bolstered by one of the largest online audiences of any news organization in the world and a prominent presence on YouTube’s search results. More than half of American adults say they watch YouTube, and younger viewers are moving to YouTube at staggering numbers,” said Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia’s exploitation of social media platforms based in the United States. “YouTube is a target-rich environment for any disinformation campaign — Russian or otherwise — that represents a long-term, next-generation challenge. Much like the Russian-controlled pages on Facebook, RT’s YouTube videos comply with YouTube’s community guidelines, which cover things like nudity, copyright violations and promoting violence against a group based on race or religion. But not propaganda."


Daisuke Wakabayashi
Nicholas Confessore

Publication Date

October 23, 2017