“Ein Trommelfeuer der Desinformation”: German Investigation of Russian Influence Campaigns on X Twitter

Interesting phrasing can be found in Der Spiegel (original report in German)

Specialists from the Federal Foreign Office have identified a systematic Russian campaign on Elon Musk’s platform. In the federal government, concerns about electoral influence are growing.

The story is titled “carpet bombing of disinformation” (“trommelfeuer der desinformation“) referring to German psychological operations and artillery tactics of WWI to demoralize soldiers in trenches.

“Trommelfeuer aufs Trommelfell Der Erste Weltkrieg…” Source: BPB.de

A huge number of deceptive messages launched from Russia seemed to carry some common threads. The meticulously crafted military intelligence propaganda was tossed into the rising hot air of trending generic hashtags like #Oktoberfest or #Bundesliga, to shower influence over the widest possible audience.

The gravity of misinformation reached a zenith with a particularly impactful fraud targeting the personal account of Annalena Baerbock, Germany’s foreign minister. A special counterfeit text in her name being promoted by Elon Musk’s platform suggested that backing Ukraine was a threat to German prosperity. This deceptive Russian government campaign, however, embedded a Cyrillic anomaly that presented investigators with an obvious marker and inadvertently exposed Elon Musk’s growing links to deception.

Any investigator who delves into the labyrinth of deceit on the “Swastika” site (formerly known as Twitter), can see how an orchestrated effort seeks not only to distort public perception but also to undermine the integrity of critical political figures and any government’s stance on international affairs.

In the case of Elon Musk already promoting Nazi political candidates in Germany, a prevailing undertone emerged in this Russian-backed propaganda campaign as reported in Der Spiegel. Elon Musk’s platform generates the false narrative that the Olaf Scholz government is forsaking the welfare of Germans due to military aid and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, compounded by welcoming over a million refugees fleeing Russian aggression.

Der Spiegel highlighted the conspicuous resemblance in the discourse surrounding the counterfeit posts and the narrative espoused by Elon Musk’s favored party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD).

“Mit seinen klar definierten Elementen (Logos, Farben, Schriften, Sprache…) und deren Zusammenspiel transportiert unser Erscheinungsbild Botschaften und Werte, die uns Einzigartigkeit verleihen und eindeutig von unseren Wettbewerbern unterscheiden.” Source: AfD

This political faction, considered the modern Nazi party, staunchly critiques the government’s stance on Ukraine. Notably, the AfD maintains established connections with the Kremlin and adopts a sympathetic posture towards Vladimir Putin. This alignment in rhetoric and shared sentiments underscores a potential nexus between the disseminated disinformation by Elon Musk and the political leanings of the AfD, raising obvious questions about the influence and motivations behind such orchestrated Russian messaging campaigns.

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