Elon Musk: Diversity-based hiring is antisemitic

KRAKÓW, Poland — Elon Musk has upped his war on woke by saying that diverse hiring policies are “fundamentally antisemitic” and discriminatory, shortly after a private visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi concentration camp.

The controversial tech billionaire was speaking at a European Jewish Association (EJA) conference in the Polish city of Kraków, amid rising criticism that his social media platform — X, formerly Twitter — has allowed rampant hate speech to spread. Musk himself sparked outrage in November when he publicly agreed with an antisemitic tweet claiming that Jewish communities have been “pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them.”

While his trip to Poland allowed him to push back at the charges of antisemitism, he also seized the opportunity to turn his fire against one of his favorite bugbears: “Diversity, equity and inclusion” policies.

“Always be wary of any name that sounds like it could come out of a George Orwell book. That’s never a good sign,” Musk told American right-wing commentator Ben Shapiro, who joined him onstage. “Sure, diversity, equity and inclusion all sound like nice words, but what it really means is discrimination on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation and it’s against merit and thus I think it’s fundamentally antisemitic.”

Musk, who confirmed that he does indeed write all of his own posts on X, has been vocal about his feelings toward diversity, equity and inclusion, including by claiming, without evidence, that diverse hiring initiatives at Boeing and United Airlines have made air travel less safe.

His comments feed into a broader debate on inclusive hiring policies, most especially on U.S. college campuses. The resignation of Harvard President Claudine Gay over a plagiarism scandal was seized upon by Republicans, who claim top schools are examples of American institutions in the throes of a leftist political transformation. Critics argue this radical leftist culture on campuses is stoking antisemitism, and top university leaders hit heavy flak last month for their poor handling of a congressional hearing on the bullying of Jews.

On Monday, Shapiro went easy on Musk, steering the conversation towards meritocracy rather than Musk’s increasingly controversial social media outbursts and allowing the Tesla boss to continue his attacks on a subject he has made a great deal of mileage out of.

“I think we need return to … a focus on merit and it doesn’t matter whether you’re man, woman, what race you are, what beliefs you have, what matters is how good you are at your job or what are your skills,” Musk said.

In defense of X

At the EJA conference — a daylong summit on the rise of antisemitism in the aftermath of the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas — Musk also defended X against accusations of antisemitism and hate speech, saying freedom of speech must be protected even when controversial. According to the billionaire, who cited audits without offering further details, X has “the least amount of antisemitism” among all social media platforms, adding that TikTok has “five times the amount of antisemitism” that X has.

“Relentless pursuit of the truth is the goal with X,” Musk said. “And allowing people to say what they want to say even if it’s controversial, provided it does not break the law, is the right thing to do.”

Musk has faced widespread criticism over the rise of disinformation and hate content since he bought the social media platform for $44 billion in 2022, criticism that intensified in the weeks following the escalation of the Israel-Hamas war last October.

The reported spread of fake and misleading content on the conflict led the EU to launch an investigation into X. And things got worse for Musk after progressive watchdog group Media Matters published a report alleging that X had run ads for major companies next to neo-Nazi posts.

The Media Matters report and Musk’s endorsement of an antisemitic post sparked a backlash from several public figures and culminated in an advertiser exodus, as multiple companies pulled their ads from the site, including giants such as Apple, IBM, Disney and Coca-Cola. According to a New York Times report, this could result in a loss of up to $75 million for X.

Musk has since apologized for the antisemitic post — admitting he should not have replied to it — and then traveled to Israel to meet with President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in what could be seen as an apology tour.

Speaking about his visit to Israel, Musk said indoctrinated Hamas fighters have to be “killed or imprisoned” to prevent them from killing more Israelis. And the next step is fighting further indoctrination in Gaza, he added.

“The indoctrination of hate into kids in Gaza has to stop,” Musk said. “I understand the need to invade Gaza, and unfortunately some innocent people will die, there’s no way around it, but the most important thing to ensure is that afterwards the indoctrination … stops.”

According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, Israeli airstrikes and ground attacks have killed over 25,000 Palestinians and wounded more than 60,000 since the attack by Hamas on October 7, in which Israeli officials say the militant group killed over 1,200 nationals and foreigners and took 240 hostages.

Musk said the West has shifted to a mentality that equates smaller, weaker groups with goodness.

“We need to stop the principle that the normally weaker party is always right, this is simply not true,” Musk said. “If you are oppressed or the weaker party it doesn’t mean you’re right.”

Musk — who joked multiple times that he considers himself “Jew by aspiration” and “by association” — was supposed to visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi concentration camp on Tuesday alongside other speakers and political leaders from the EJA conference, but he instead took a private tour of the site with his young son.

The Auschwitz Museum itself was among one of the entities that had called out Musk for failing to contain antisemitic content.

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Taiwan’s new president: Five things you need to know about William Lai

TAIPEI — Forget Xi Jinping or Joe Biden for a second. Meet Taiwan’s next President William Lai, upon whom the fate of U.S.-China relations — and global security over the coming few years — is now thrust.

The 64-year-old, currently Taiwan’s vice president, has led the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to a historic third term in power, a first for any party since Taiwan became a democracy in 1996.

For now, the capital of Taipei feels as calm as ever. For Lai, though, the sense of victory will soon be overshadowed by a looming, extended period of uncertainty over Beijing’s next move. Taiwan’s Communist neighbor has laid bare its disapproval of Lai, whom Beijing considers the poster boy of the Taiwanese independence movement.

All eyes are now on how the Chinese leader — who less than two weeks ago warned Taiwan to face up to the “historical inevitability” of being absorbed into his Communist nation — will address the other inevitable conclusion: That the Taiwanese public have cast yet another “no” vote on Beijing.

1. Beijing doesn’t like him — at all

China has repeatedly lambasted Lai, suggesting that he will be the one bringing war to the island.

As recently as last Thursday, Beijing was trying to talk Taiwanese voters out of electing its nemesis-in-chief into the Baroque-style Presidential Office in Taipei.

“Cross-Strait relations have taken a turn for the worse in the past eight years, from peaceful development to tense confrontation,” China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Chen Binhua said, adding that Lai would now be trying to follow an “evil path” toward “military tension and war.”

While Beijing has never been a fan of the DPP, which views China as fundamentally against Taiwan’s interests , the personal disgust for Lai is also remarkable.

Part of that stems from a 2017 remark, in which Lai called himself a “worker for Taiwanese independence,” which has been repeatedly cited by Beijing as proof of his secessionist beliefs.

Without naming names, Chinese President Xi harshly criticized those promoting Taiwan independence in a speech in 2021.

“Secession aimed at Taiwan independence is the greatest obstacle to national reunification and a grave danger to national rejuvenation,” Xi said. “Those who forget their heritage, betray their motherland, and seek to split the country will come to no good end, and will be disdained by the people and sentenced by the court of history.”

2. All eyes are on the next 4 months

Instability is expected to be on the rise over the next four months, until Lai is formally inaugurated on May 20.

No one knows how bad this could get, but Taiwanese officials and foreign diplomats say they don’t expect the situation to be as tense as the aftermath of then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island in 2022.

Already, days before the election, China sent several spy balloons to monitor Taiwan, according to the Taiwanese defense ministry. On the trade front, China was also stepping up the pressure, announcing a possible move to reintroduce tariffs on some Taiwanese products. Cases of disinformation and electoral manipulation have also been unveiled by Taiwanese authorities.

Those developments, combined, constitute what Taipei calls hybrid warfare — which now risks further escalation given Beijing’s displeasure with the new president.

3. Lai has to tame his independent instinct

In a way, he has already.

Speaking at the international press conference last week, Lai said he had no plan to declare independence if elected to the presidency.

DPP insiders say they expect Lai to stick to outgoing Tsai Ing-wen’s approach, without saying things that could be interpreted as unilaterally changing the status quo.

They also point to the fact that Lai chose as vice-presidential pick Bi-khim Hsiao, a close confidante with Tsai and former de facto ambassador to Washington. Hsiao has developed close links with the Biden administration, and will play a key role as a bridge between Lai and the U.S.

4. Taiwan will follow international approach

The U.S., Japan and Europe are expected to take precedence in Lai’s diplomatic outreach, while relations with China will continue to be negative.

Throughout election rallies across the island, the DPP candidate repeatedly highlighted the Tsai government’s efforts at diversifying away from the trade reliance on China, shifting the focus to the three like-minded allies.

Southeast Asia has been another top destination for these readjusted trade flows, DPP has said.

According to Taiwanese authorities, Taiwan’s exports to China and Hong Kong last year dropped 18.1 percent compared to 2022, the biggest decrease since they started recording this set of statistics in 1982.

In contrast, Taiwanese exports to the U.S. and Europe rose by 1.6 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively, with the trade volumes reaching all-time highs.

However, critics point out that China continues to be Taiwan’s biggest trading partner, with many Taiwanese businesspeople living and working in the mainland.

5. Lai might face an uncooperative parliament

While vote counting continues, there’s a high chance Lai will be dealing with a divided parliament, the Legislative Yuan.

Before the election, the Kuomintang (KMT) party vowed to form a majority with Taiwan People’s Party in the Yuan, thereby rendering Lai’s administration effectively a minority government.

While that could pose further difficulties for Lai to roll out policies provocative to Beijing, a parliament in opposition also might be a problem when it comes to Taiwan’s much-needed defense spending.

“A divided parliament is very bad news for defense. KMT has proven that they can block defense spending, and the TPP will also try to provide what they call oversight, and make things much more difficult,” said Syaru Shirley Lin, who chairs the Center for Asia-Pacific Resilience and Innovation, a Taipei-based policy think tank.

“Although all three parties said they wanted to boost defense, days leading up to the election … I don’t think that really tells you what’s going to happen in the legislature,” Lin added. “There’s going to be a lot of policy trading.”

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The EU and Taiwan must partner up in the fight against disinformation

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent in any way the editorial position of Euronews.

If the two could join forces in their endeavours, it is possible that they could fuel regional development in Southeast Asia and elsewhere within the Global South where China has developed influence and a rooted footprint via its Belt and Road Initiative, Zsuzsa Anna Ferenczy writes.


In May, G7 leaders, meeting at the 2023 Hiroshima Summit, agreed that a “growing China that plays by international rules would be of global interest”. 

Their call, for continuing multilateral engagement with Beijing did, though, request that China not conduct interference activities aimed at undermining the integrity of democratic institutions, and that the country should do more to press Russia on its military aggression in Ukraine.

Conversely, at this month’s Belt and Road Forum of International Cooperation in Beijing, Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin celebrated the deepening of their mutual political trust, praising the close strategic coordination of the two countries. 

This followed Xi’s March visit to Moscow when the two leaders reinforced their ambition to remake the liberal international order, with the Chinese leader reassuring his “dear friend” that they are driving changes “that have not happened for one hundred years”.

This deepening of relations captures a new geopolitical reality, which many in Europe are still struggling to comprehend.

Sino-Russian cooperation a growing concern?

Looking eastwards, Europeans now see two former foes, China and Russia, bound together by their shared fear of liberal democracy. 

These regimes want to upend the world order so that it marries with their authoritarian agendas. 

The bilateral meeting between Xi and Putin on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum this month left no question about Beijing’s desire to curate and present an alternative worldview to the Global South, while strengthening its strategic alignment with Russia.

The meeting also consolidated Putin’s support towards China’s positioning on international affairs, in line with the Global Security Initiative, which Xi designed to help China achieve global primacy against a perceived backdrop of Western inhibitors.

The scale of Sino-Russian cooperation is vast, multi-faceted, and developing at speed. For, not only are their militaries and economies now in a state of synergy, their diplomats and state-controlled media are also collaborating closely. 

Chinese state-media and official social media channels routinely amplify selected pro-Kremlin narratives and are also platforming Russian media sanctioned by the West.

This growing strategic partnership is forcing the EU to finally get serious about its claims to rethink ties with China – and, by association, with Russia – in what European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called the de-risking of trade and political relations. 

China is changing, and “moving into a new era of security and control”; it is time for Europe to change, too.

Brussels needs a defensive toolbox — Taiwan can help

How this can be effected, though, is still at a fragmented stage of development, and was a key point of discussion at this year’s Budapest Forum. The EU High Representative Josep Borrell has urged the bloc and its member states to work with democratic partners around the world to fight information manipulation by authoritarian regimes.

This is an important step, which marries with wider efforts to position the EU as an independent voice and force on the world stage.

By focusing on Russia and China as key foreign actors in information manipulation and interference, the EU continues to invest in strategic communication, vital to defend democracy.

But it is essential that closer coordination at home is supported by a defensive toolbox for economic security and stronger cooperation with like-minded international partners, including Taiwan, if the bloc is to effectively push back at China and Russia’s developing orbit. 

What is needed most to boost the immune system of democracies is a whole-of-society approach and an inclusive global conversation with the developing world.


The learning pools from Taiwan, and its response to Chinese aggression, are particularly important. For, here, over decades, democracy has withstood a barrage of disinformation and hostility from China. 

And, as a testament to the island nation’s strength, it has developed an approach that reflects the collective will of society and encourages a civic spirit that empowers citizens to feel that they hold the reigns of their democracy. 

This has extended to emerging and digital technologies, which are now seen through the lens of individual citizen interest, rather than benefiting those of the country’s political class.

Can the EU lead into action?

This has established a two-way trust, which, today, not only sees Taiwan hold the status as a pivotal node in the global semiconductor supply chain but also boasts a radically transparent democratic system of government. 

The lessons for Europe are numerous, and it is in the EU’s interest to explore Taiwan’s open and technologically driven governance and its expertise in media literacy. 


For the past decades, the government has invested in education to empower its citizens to make informed decisions about what they see and read. Together, the EU and Taiwan and other democratically-minded countries could develop a networked system that would undercut the space for authoritarian regimes to corrupt information streams with falsehoods.

The two, and others committed to this cause, should partner up and help anchor developing countries in democracy and limit China’s negative clout, mindful that significant infrastructure investment needs will remain across the Global South. 

Europe’s Global Gateway forum, for one, seeks to boost secure links in digital, energy, transport and education along with democratic values, while Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy has committed to integrating its capacity in digital technology to promote a digital New Southbound initiative. 

If the two could join forces in their endeavours, it is possible that they could fuel regional development in South East Asia and elsewhere within the Global South where China has developed influence and a rooted footprint via its Belt and Road Initiative.

All of this points to the necessity for Europe to be more global-minded in its policy, and to take on the role of upholding not just its own, but other, developing democratic ecosystems. 


Understanding the long-term consequences of information manipulation by authoritarian regimes to the rules-based order will be key to the future of global democracy. 

The question is: is the EU prepared to fundamentally change its position, and lead in this action?

Dr Zsuzsa Anna Ferenczy is Assistant Professor at National Dong Hwa University in Hualien, Taiwan and the author of “Europe, China, and the Limits of Normative Power”.

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Recent escalations remind us of the need to combat disinformation

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent in any way the editorial position of Euronews.

There is no doubt that with disinformation becoming more widespread, we are in a war against weaponised information, Oliver Rolofs writes.


Today’s information society offers a lecture on the relativity of truth. 

Across the world, there are masters at work in the art of bending the facts. And where the truth no longer matters, it becomes easier to wage war.

But disinformation is not a new concern. As early as 1710, the Irish satirist Jonathan Swift wrote in The Examiner: “Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it.” 

Two centuries later, Britain’s legendary Prime Minister Winston Churchill noted: “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”

The wisdom of Churchill’s words was tragically demonstrated again just two weeks ago, when we witnessed Hamas and other malign actors apparently pursue this approach to instrumentalise their supporters. 

Upon investigation, some of the widely shared images of the alleged Israeli rocket attack on a hospital in Gaza appear to be a tragic, yet effective example of disinformation. 

Yet for many observers, clear Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) analysis counted for little, as it did not fit into their preconceived narrative. 

This kind of disinformation — whether practised by extremists, state actors like China, Russia, Iran, or other fake news-producing powers, all further enabled by social media platforms, messenger services and AI-based solutions such as ChatGPT — is increasingly a threat to global peace and stability.

Truthfully portraying facts-based reality

For centuries, nation-states have promulgated laws addressing the propagation of falsehoods, and on issues such as defamation, fraud, false advertising and perjury. 

However, current discussions on disinformation reflect a new and rapidly evolving communications landscape, in part due to innovative technologies that enable the dissemination of unparalleled volumes of content at unprecedented speeds.

In his 2022 report on countering disinformation, UN Secretary-General António Guterres explored the challenges of navigating this qualitatively different media landscape and ensuring it advances, rather than undermines, human rights and international peace and security. 

States, but especially tech companies, have a duty to take appropriate steps to address these harmful impacts. This is not an easy task, as they need to simultaneously limit any infringement on rights, including the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

The 1978 UNESCO Media Declaration could be a useful guiding light in this, however. Even in today’s technological age, it could serve as a moral compass for states, tech and media companies providing any sort of communication service. 

The tasks for the media formulated in the UNESCO declaration — to contribute to the strengthening of peace and international understanding, to promote human rights and to fight racism, antisemitism, apartheid and warmongering — are more relevant than ever.

Media, journalists, as well as social media platforms and messenger services are challenged to truthfully portray reality based on facts, especially in this digital age where every person can be a publisher with unprecedented reach. 

By taking this principle to heart, the antagonism of conflict and the polarisation of societies around the globe can be overcome.

The European approach, a solid blueprint

There is no doubt that we are facing greater challenges on this front than ever before. 

Platforms for dialogue and cooperation are crucial. International forums, especially those that bring together the Global North and Global South, such as the Global Media Congress in Abu Dhabi or the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum in Bonn, in addition to UN formats, can give this issue the space it needs to drive a strong approach at the global level.


There is much to discuss. Combating disinformation is a complex challenge. While it is a global issue, the European approach can provide solid guidance for a multilayered approach. 

It includes, via the EU Digital Services Act (DSA), new regulations on online platforms and improving EU citizens’ information environment by building transparency and security safeguards and holding tech companies accountable. 

The DSA is strengthened through the EU Code of Practice on Disinformation, a strong albeit voluntary set of commitments from tech and media firms.

Further Europe-led approaches include the EU vs Disinfo website and database to highlight Russia’s influence campaigns against the EU, its member states, and allies. 

More projects that actively engage society, like in the case of Finland, which has elevated the way citizens separate fact from fiction through effective media literacy toolkits, are also needed.


Across the Atlantic, new collaborative human-technological solutions — like the Public Editor project, a collective intelligence system that labels specific reasoning mistakes in the daily news, so we can all learn to avoid biased thinking now also implemented in Europe — could usefully further efforts in the fight against disinformation. 

War against weaponised information

There is no doubt that with disinformation becoming more widespread, we are in a war against weaponised information. 

Communicators, politicians, media and opinion leaders need to work together across borders, and they need a whole set of instruments to combat it effectively. 

Investing in quality journalism, fact-based education and regulation, and using technologies such as social listening tools are the arsenal we need to help identify and defuse emerging threats before the world is thrown into outright turmoil.

Oliver Rolofs is a strategic security and communication expert and Director of the Vienna-based Austrian Institute for Strategic Studies and International Cooperation (AISSIC). Previously the Head of Communications at the Munich Security Conference, he also runs the Munich-based strategy consultancy, CommVisory.


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We need to learn that if it’s online, it doesn’t have to be true

By Yoan Blanc, Co-director, C’est vrai ça?

Investing in education and the development of critical thinking is more important than ever, as it will help to limit the risks of disinformation posed by the advent of technologies such as the internet and AI, Yoan Blanc writes.

In its new report on education and technology, published on 26 July 2023, UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring Report discusses the risks and opportunities that new technologies hold for the future of education. 

The report points out that only around half of 15-year-olds in OECD countries are able to tell facts from opinions. 

With the advent of artificial intelligence (AI), more than ever, educators play a vital role in teaching the critical thinking and autonomy needed to navigate new technologies.

As we have observed in recent years, disinformation campaigns and conspiracy theories have gained ground. 

While it is worrying to see the often-morbid impact of fake news, we also need to consider how susceptible people are to these theories, and the lack of education about technology, which leads some people to think that “if it’s on the Internet, it must be true”.

Pre-existing issues, a smouldering fire that just needed oxygen

A pre-existing situation has made it easier for people to buy into the idea. 

Disinformation campaigns haven’t enjoyed the success they have based solely on a particular set of circumstances. 

The COVID-19 crisis merely acted as a catalyst, stoking a fire that had been smouldering for quite some time due to a number of factors that slowly came to light.

As the latest RSF report shows, freedom of the press is under threat in many countries, including those that were once regarded as democratic. 

Public confidence in the press has rarely been so low, and the work of journalists is often denigrated, even though they are the foundation of a healthy democratic system. 

The media has become polarised in recent years, favouring ideology and punchlines over in-depth debates on social issues.

The lack of digital literacy and critical thinking

It’s hard to properly account for the surge in fake news. The general public has very little understanding of how social media work and sometimes takes falsely sourced or openly conspiracy-themed publications at face value. 

Acquiring easily implemented methodological tools would undoubtedly help to avoid these pitfalls.

The main reason fake news goes viral is a lack of critical thinking. Part of the population doesn’t know how to think critically and doesn’t analyse the information they are given.

Social media is the favourite channel for spreading conspiracy theories and disinformation. 

It allows for swift and massive dissemination thanks to its sharing functions and algorithms that highlight the sort of “divisive” content that generates reactions (the more intense the emotion, the more viral the information). 

There is also the question of social media moderation, which is at best inadequate, at worst non-existent, and essentially based on user reports, with the impending risk of a “militia” effect. 

The reports they make are processed by people who often don’t speak French, leading to bizarre situations where overtly racist content can be allowed to remain online. 

Worse still, as content deletion is sometimes based on the number of reports received, journalists’ or fact-checkers’ accounts or publications are regularly deleted or suspended as a result of massive reporting campaigns.

How can we fix this?

Citizens’ initiatives that complement the work of the press need to take shape to counter fake news on social media. 

Because while disinformation’s main weapon is virality, it is still possible to mitigate the viral impact of a publication by reacting quickly to provide simple, accessible, and well-sourced explanations.

C’est vrai, ça?, for instance, has over twenty volunteers working on a citizens’ initiative to check LinkedIn posts. 

With an average of 10 fact-checking operations a day and 70,000 followers, they help prevent the spread of fake news or at least encourage critical thinking by providing sourced commentary.

This is where education comes in

To stem the tide of disinformation upstream, there is a solution that is both simple on paper and yet terribly difficult to implement in practice: education.

Training teachers to work with and use new technologies so that they can pass on critical thinking methods to their pupils, whether it be social media or content-generating artificial intelligence tools accessible to the general public (ChatGPT, Midjourney, etc.). 

Here too, partnerships could be devised between schools and community associations to train students in the use of new technologies, to encourage them to question what they consult and to use the tools at their disposal to reflect rather than just consume. 

The Internet and artificial intelligence are formidable instruments, providing access to information that was previously unavailable. 

But like any other tool, they need to be properly mastered. Access to knowledge and education has always been a means of empowering people. 

Whereas in the past, the challenge for the public was to gain access to the knowledge needed to contradict dogma, today, the challenge is to sort through the mass of information. 

We have to invest in knowledge to solve this once and for all

Learning the basic techniques of OSINT (Open-Source Intelligence) — how to detect texts or images generated by artificial intelligence or how to analyse a source of information — are all skills that are accessible from a very young age and help protect the human mind against manipulation.

Investing in education and the development of critical thinking is more important than ever, as it will help to limit the risks of disinformation posed by the advent of technologies such as the internet and AI.

To achieve this, we need genuine political commitment and enlightened governance to analyse the risks and work together to develop effective standards that protect us all from fake news.

Yoan Blanc is the co-director of C’est vrai ça?, an independent civic initiative that brings together private citizens who want to fight back against fake news.

At Euronews, we believe all views matter. Contact us at [email protected] to send pitches or submissions and be part of the conversation.

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When Russia calls others ‘Nazis’, it should be looking at itself

By Aleksandar Đokić, Political scientist and analyst

The Kremlin and its agents have many explanations and justifications for the invasion of Ukraine. 

Those depend on the target audience: when they address the far-left, they swear by anti-colonialism. When they talk to the far-right, they speak about “wokeism” and traditional values. 

When they turn to Europeans, they claim the US is exploiting the continent and that Washington provoked the war. When they move to the Middle East, they speak about the invasion of Iraq and the “Western Crusades”. 

When they look at Africa, they pretend that Russia did not colonise swaths of the Asian continent.

The list goes on. 

The fact of the matter is the Kremlin is not driven by any official ideology. It adheres to no principles whatsoever, and it is more akin to a highwayman changing his garb at will if it means getting to the loot more easily.

Delusions of grandeur while slaughtering victims

Thus, the big question is: is it all for show? Are there absolutely no beliefs in the Kremlin’s decision-making circles, and are they then motivated exclusively by self-interest? 

Or rather, did Russia’s Vladimir Putin start the invasion because he is a neocolonialist rebuilding the empire or because he is a corrupt autocrat who wants to prolong his stay in power either by a quick military victory or a never-ending war? 

One of the answers certainly can be, “why not both?”

Corruption and imperialism can co-exist in the same person’s set of beliefs. After all, the said road bandit can also delusionally picture himself as a knight in shining armour while robbing and slaughtering his victims. 

Putin can build his own castles in the sand and still promote the theory of the “degradation of the West” that’s been around for at least seventy years or so. 

But, more important than its beliefs is how the Kremlin is using ideology in a fractured postmodern world to its advantage. And worryingly, Putin has increasingly allowed Nazism to seep in and take hold.

How close are Russian far-right figures to true Nazism?

The Kremlin’s favourite argument for the Western audience, besides blaming the US for Russia’s invasion, revolves around the alleged “Ukrainian Nazis” that are pulling all the strings in Kyiv. 

It’s not that Ukraine doesn’t have its share of far-right supporters. It’s the fact that the far right has a negligible influence on Ukraine’s political scene.

Russia, on the other hand, has nurtured imperialist far-right ideas for decades. Growingly, these feature all the textbook signs of Nazism — the disdain for liberal democracy, the outright hatred of others, scientific racism, and calls for the eradication of entire groups in particular.

In some, far-right ideas in Russia are a mixture of Nazism and Stalinism, as witnessed in former Duma member Zakhar Prilepin’s National-Bolsheviks. 

Others only thinly veil their extremism in traditional Orthodox Russian imperialism, exemplified by the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) leadership and former paramilitary commander Igor Strelkov aka Girkin.

The now-infamous Konstantin Malofeev and Yegor Kholmogorov from the far-right Tsargrad TV also belong in this niche.

The version of Eurasianism pushed by self-proclaimed political philosopher and strategist Aleksandr Dugin represents a mix and rehashing of concepts from proto-fascist Russian thinkers from the turn of the 20th century. 

Besides them, there are the ultra-patriots, the official far-right, centred in the LDPR party, once led by notorious extremist political provocateur Vladimir Zhirinovsky, and the Just Russia party, headed by Sergey Milonov, both of which are in the Duma. 

Finally, there are actual neo-pagan ethnonationalists believing in the “pure Slavic race” who are, in essence, neo-Nazis (like the Rusich battalion waging war for Russia in Ukraine).

Fringe became mainstream, all thanks to Putin

What’s drastically changed since the invasion is that the far-right is rapidly becoming mainstream in Russia.

Once a poster boy for a would-be liberal Russia and the country’s toothless president, Dmitry Medvedev now writes mammoth social media posts about “unterukraine” and “Big Great Russia”, using Nazi vocabulary. 

On the federal Russian Orthodox TV channel Spas, or “Salvation”, Yevgeny Nikiforov, the editor-in-chief of yet another Russian Orthodox outlet, Radio Radonezh, often parrots lines such as that “the disease, which has taken hold in Ukraine, should be cleansed by fire”.

Igor Fomin, a highly ranked cleric of the Russian Orthodox Church — bearer of three ROC medals with a parish on the grounds of Moscow’s MGIMO university, which is mostly attended by the progeny of Russia’s new elites — compares the war Russia is waging in Ukraine with the Old Testament and presents the hierarchy he believes in as “Nation, President, God”. 

The Almighty, apparently, has to settle for the bronze medal. 

He then goes on to say that Putin is doing God’s work in Ukraine like Joshua — the Biblical character famously tasked with wiping the “wicked nations” from the face of the Earth — did with the Canaanites. 

Many such statements are now regularly broadcast on Russian federal media, be it state or “private” (although there can’t be any private media in Putin’s wannabe-totalitarian system).

Anything goes, just to justify the war

Before the invasion, the Russian far-right was mostly marginalised on the fringes of society. They had ties with the Kremlin or the security circles — especially in the FSB and the army — but they did not reach large audiences.

The ultra-patriot group was always in plain sight, but they were not there to represent the policies of the government. Rather, their task was always to sound more radical, reckless and dangerous than Putin in his “spin dictator” phase, as economist Sergei Guriev neatly summarised it. 

Even when the Kremlin launched its unsuccessful “Novorossiya” project in 2014, the Russian extremists from the Donbas, posing as military correspondents or journalists, were not a part of everyday Russian society. 

They were officially treated by the regime as an allied neighbouring force fending off the “evil West and Banderites” and kept at a distance, a perk of plausible deniability.

With the February 2022 full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Kremlin’s need to justify the war grew to embrace everyone, including the most psychotic among the commentariat, as the entire narrative was organised around normalising the aggression.

In turn, now even the most radical nutjobs have become a part of the norm. 

Russia is at a stage where it will need to undergo denazification

All of these far-right theories, some of which portray Russia as a force handpicked by God to postpone the Apocalypse — one of the non-standard Russian Orthodox teachings rehashed by Dugin, known as the Katekhon — or Russia as the righteous empire in a struggle against the “fallen” Western democracies, were in circulation, but they were not presented by the state as the norm on a daily basis like they are today. 

The Russian people can turn off their TV sets, as the research shows they are doing, but these narratives aren’t going away. 

They have entrenched themselves in the Russian political and social discourse. 

And now, we have come to the point where we can justifiably claim that the damage done by Putin’s mafia regime has led to a glaring Nazification of Russia.

Therefore, in the near future, Russian society will have to undergo a painful process of denazifying itself — that is, if it ever wants to be trusted as a progressive part of the continent and a good neighbour to the countries it tried to oppress.

Aleksandar Đokić is a Serbian political scientist and analyst with bylines in Novaya Gazeta. He was formerly a lecturer at RUDN University in Moscow.

At Euronews, we believe all views matter. Contact us at [email protected] to send pitches or submissions and be part of the conversation.

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Matt Taibbi’s #TwitterFiles Part 19 takes deep, disturbing look at ‘The Great Covid-19 Lie Machine’

Earlier this month, Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz accused independent journalist Matt Taibbi of profiting off the “Twitter Files.”

Taibbi and journalists like Michael Shellenberger and Bari Weiss have been instrumental in bringing government and media corruption to light through their work on the “Twitter Files,” despite the Democratic Party and liberal media’s coordinated campaigns to kneecap and smear them. So we’re pleased to see that Taibbi hasn’t let the likes of Debbie Wasserman Schultz deter him from lifting heavy boulders and exposing corruption.

And that brings us to the “Twitter Files,” part 19. Taibbi dropped it today, and this particular thread focuses on “The Great Covid-19 Lie Machine, Stanford, the Virality Project, and the Censorship of ‘True Stories.’”

Get comfortable — but not too comfortable. You’re in for quite a ride:

There’s been enough corruption to fill 19 of these things! And we expect that there’s still a lot more where all that came from.

So stay tuned.


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Celebrities may have helped shape anti-vaccine opinions during Covid-19 pandemic, study finds | CNN


Covid-19 vaccines are known to be safe and effective, and they’re available for free, but many Americans in the US refuse to get them – and a recent study suggests that celebrities may share some of the blame for people’s mistrust.

Celebrities have long tried to positively influence public health, studies show, but during the Covid-19 pandemic, they also seemed to have a large influence on spreading misinformation.

Decades ago, in the 1950s, people could see stars like Elvis Presley, Dick Van Dyke and Ella Fitzgerald in TV ads that encouraged polio vaccination. This celebrity influence boosted the country’s general vaccination efforts, and vaccination nearly eliminated the deadly disease.

In 2021, US officials used celebrities in TV ads to encourage more people to get vaccinated against Covid-19. Big names like lifestyle guru Martha Stewart, singer Charlie Puth and even Senate Minority Leader Mitchell McConnell showed up in spots that had billions of ad impressions.

The world isn’t restricted to only three TV networks any more, so celebrities like actress Hilary Duff, actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, singer Dolly Parton and even Big Bird also used their enormous presence on Instagram and Twitter to promote a pro Covid-19 vaccine message.

But social media also became a vehicle for celebrities to cast doubt about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine and even to spread disinformation about Covid.

Their negative messages seemed to find an audience.

For their study, published in the journal BMJ Health & Care Informatics, researchers examined nearly 13 million tweets between January 2020 and March 2022 about Covid-19 and vaccines. They designed a natural language model to determine the sentiment of each tweet and compared them with tweets that also mentioned people in the public eye.

The stars they picked to analyze included people who had shared skepticism about the vaccines, who had Covid-related tweets that were identified as misinformation or who retweeted misinformation about Covid.

They included rapper Nicki Minaj, football player Aaron Rodgers, tennis player Novak Djokovic, singer Eric Clapton, Sen. Rand Paul, former President Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, TV host Tucker Carlson and commentator Joe Rogan.

The researchers found 45,255 tweets from 34,407 unique authors talking about Covid-19 vaccine-related issues. Those tweets generated a total of 16.32 million likes. The tweets from these influencers, overall, were more negative about the vaccine than positive, the study found. These tweets were specifically more related to antivaccine controversy, rather than news about vaccine development, the study said.

The highest number of negative comments was associated with Rodgers and Minaj. Clapton had “very few” positive tweets, the study said, and that may have had an influence, but he also caught flak for it from the public.

The most-liked tweet that mentioned Clapton and the vaccine said, “Strongly disagree with [EC] … take on Covid and the vaccine and disgusted by his previous white supremacist comments. But if you reference the death of his son to criticize him, you are an ignorant scumbag.”

Trump and Cruz were found to have the most substantial impact within this group, with combined likes totaling more than 122,000.

They too came in for criticism on the topic, with many users wondering whether these politicians were qualified to have opinions about the vaccines. The study said the most-liked tweet mentioning Cruz was, “I called Ted Cruz’s office asking to make an appointment to talk with the Senator about my blood pressure. They told me that the Senator was not qualified to give medical advice and that I should call my doctor. So I asked them to stop advising about vaccines.”

The most-liked tweet associated with Rogan was an antivaxx statement: “I love how the same people who don’t want us to listen to Joe Rogan, Aaron Rodgers about the covid vaccine, want us to listen to Big Bird & Elmo.”

Posts shared by news anchors and politicians seemed to have the most influence in terms of the most tweets and retweets, the study found.

“Our findings suggest that the presence of consistent patterns of emotional content co-occurring with messaging shared by those persons in the public eye that we’ve mentioned, influenced public opinion and largely stimulated online public discourse, for the at least over the course of the first two years of the Covid pandemic,” said study co-author Brianna White, a research coordinator in the Population Health Intelligence lab at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center – Oak Ridge National Laboratory Center for Biomedical Informatics.

“We also argue that obviously as the risk of severe negative health outcomes increase with the failure to comply with health protective behavior recommendations, that our findings suggest that polarized messages from societal elite may downplay those severe negative health outcome risks.”

The study doesn’t get into exactly why celebrity tweets would have such an impact on people’s attitudes about the vaccine. Dr. Ellen Selkie, who has conducted research on influence at the intersection of social media, celebrity and public health outcomes, said celebrities are influential because they attract a lot of attention.

“I think part of the influence that media have on behavior has to do with the amount of exposure. Just in general, the volume of content that is focused on a specific topic or on a specific sort of interpretation of that topic – in this case misinformation – the repeated exposure to any given thing is going to increase the likelihood that it’s going to have an effect,” said Selkie, who was not involved in the new research. She is an adolescent health pediatrician and researcher with UW Health Kids and an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

Just as people listen to a friend’s thoughts, they’ll listen to a celebrity whom they tend to like or identify with because they trust their opinion.

“With fandoms, in terms of the relationship between musical artists and actors and their fans, there is this sort of mutual love that fans and artists have for each other, which sort of can approximate that sense that they’re looking out for each other,” Selkie said.

She said she would be interested to see research on the influence of celebrities who tweeted positive messages about the Covid-19 vaccine.

The authors of the study hope public health leaders will use the findings right away.

“We argue this threat to population health should create a sense of urgency and warrants public health response to identify, develop and implement innovative mitigation strategies,” the study says.

Exposure to large amounts of this misinformation can have a lasting impact and work against the public’s best interest when it comes to their health.

“As populations grow to trust the influential nature of celebrity activity on social platforms, followers are disarmed and open to persuasion when faced with false information, creating opportunities for dissemination and rapid spread of misinformation and disinformation,” the study says.

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Robby Soave drops Facebook Files, detailing federal gov’t ‘jawboning’ to censor inconvenient content

Chances are pretty good that by this point, you’ve read through at least a couple of the extensive threads and articles known as The Twitter Files, and you’ve seen the disturbing lengths to which Democrats and the federal government have gone — with varying degrees of cooperation from Twitter execs and middle management — to suppress information and push false narratives and silence debate.

And you may have gotten the sneaking suspicion that, given just how damning and disturbing these revelations were, it was entirely possible that the suppression of information and pushing of false narratives and silencing of debate weren’t just issues at Twitter. And you’d evidently be right.

Today, Reason’s Robby Soave has a new exposé to share, and this one is all about censorship at Facebook and Instagram, carried out at the behest of the federal government, including the Centers for Disease Control. And, as was the case with The Twitter Files, you’ll want to take the time to read this one:

Good Lord.

And it gets messier still:

And there we have it. How many Twitter users were laughed at or denounced as conspiracy theorists for suspecting that censorship was at play? They turned out to be right. And now we have compelling evidence that Facebook did the exact same thing. It’s not a conspiracy theory; it’s reality.

Anyone else get the feeling that all the revelations are just barely scratching the surface of what went on between the Biden administration and Twitter and Facebook?


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Hot scoop about Andrew Tate getting busted by pizza box was based on BS cooked up by Alejandra Caraballo

It has not been the greatest week for kickboxer, social media influencer, and genuinely toxic masculine man Andrew Tate.

Earlier this week, he got owned — and we do mean owned — by Greta Thunberg. That was embarrassing enough. But then yesterday, things managed to get even worse for Tate when he was detained in Romania on suspicion of human trafficking, rape, and organized crime. Or at least attempting organized crime.

More from NBC News:

On Thursday, prosecutors said that they found evidence that six women had been sexually exploited “using physical violence and mental constraint” by members of the group.

The women had been forced into making pornographic content for distribution on social media for financial gain to the group, they said.

Prosecutors said that the brothers have been under criminal investigation since April, according to Reuters, when Tate’s Bucharest mansion was searched by police in connection with human trafficking allegations.

Yikes. Tough break, Andrew.

Now, as much as we’re enjoying the prospect of Andrew Tate getting his comeuppance, it’s still important to be honest about how his arrest came to pass. Interestingly, Greta Thunberg is actually getting credit for ultimately being the one who brought him down:

“This is what happens when you don’t recycle your pizza boxes,” she wrote in a tweet, an apparent reference to reports in the Romanian newspaper Gândul that Tate’s social media activity, including a video message posted by the influencer that used pizza boxes from a Romanian takeout chain as a prop, alerted authorities to his presence in the country.

The thing is, apparently a pizza box had nothing whatsoever to do with the arrest:



OK, so if this wasn’t about a pizza box, then how did the whole “pizza box” narrative get started? Well, ladies and gentlemen, you will no doubt be shocked to know that the narrative appears to have originated with Alejandra Caraballo. We know, we know … who’d’ve guessed that a serial liar with no sense of journalistic ethics would do something like that?

But here we are:

Look at all those sweet, sweet likes and retweets! Makes the lie totally worth it!

There’s another moral to this story, of course. And that moral is: Do not, under any circumstances, take Alejandra Caraballo at her word, because she is a lying liar who lies.

Of course, she has very little incentive not to lie because there are so many people and media outlets who are willing to treat her as though she is a serious person who should be taken seriously.

Could no one be bothered to verify Caraballo’s claims immediately after she made them? It’s not like she hasn’t given the media cause to question her motives before.

“One very unreliable Twitter account.” Yeah, that’s basically Alejandra Caraballo in a nutshell.

But see, that last bit, “and next time it could be on something far more important,” is exactly why Caraballo’s lie is actually a very big deal and a huge problem. Almost 100,000 retweets and more than half a million likes on a tweet that’s an outright lie. If Caraballo or someone like her can get away with that, can actually be cited by ostensibly respectable news outlets as a reliable source, then what’s to stop a far more egregious and damaging lie from catching fire?

Dreyfuss is absolutely correct. That’s why we’re going to post his tweets linking to his own write-up on the subject:

Dreyfuss actually looked into this stuff and, realizing he himself had been mistaken, took the time to correct his own rushes to judgment.

More media should take their cues from Dreyfuss — and stay the hell away from Alejandra Caraballo.



Because of course.



About the expert media’s consulting for reports on Musk creating a dangerous atmosphere…

WaPo’s expert source on Twitter doesn’t mind doxxing those fascists who are for ‘free speech’

Glenn Greenwald takes ‘relentlessly hateful and dishonest’ Alejandra Caraballo apart in SAVAGE thread


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