April 11, 2022
GDI has studied a selection of popular brand ads appearing next to anti-Ukrainian and anti-Democratic disinformation. This deck includes stories that have harmful adversarial narratives that falsely claim or advocate that:
The adversarial narratives have been found across multiple countries and languages (English, French, and Russian).
Ad tech companies servicing these ads & funding these stories include Google, Criteo, RevContent, Xandr, and Yandex.
To prevent further funding — and diminish incentives to produce this content — critical action is needed now.
Improving our information ecosystem and preventing offline harms is possible. Some of the Immediate policy interventions that would help include:
Pivotally, the European Commission, Council and Parliament trialogue discussion on DSA is at a critical stage. Two important articles that have direct impact on reducing the harms of disinformation include:
In addition, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights advises companies to carry out human rights due diligence that involves identifying and mitigating and adverse impacts on human rights. It is vital to ensure the DSA takes a similar inclusive approach.
“While commendable that Google demonetised this article, further action is needed to effectively demonetise disinformation and its harms.”
To see more examples of how popular brands are unwittingly supporting disinformation websites and thereby helping promote toxic adversarial narratives, read our full study.
This study is part of an ongoing series on disinformation, conspiracy theories and more that focus on bolstering adversarial narratives in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.