The Alliance for Securing Democracy Launches Hamilton 2.0 Dashboard
New interactive tool tracks official Russian messaging and information manipulation
WASHINGTON, DC.– The Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund of the United States today launched Hamilton 2.0, a new dashboard tracking Russian government-backed information operations online and on state-sponsored broadcast television. The interactive, publicly accessible dashboard captures content from more than 140 diplomatic and media accounts on Twitter, four state-sponsored news websites, RT’s television news broadcasts, and RT America and RT UK’s YouTube channels.
The new dashboard is live now and can be accessed here: https://securingdemocracy.gmfus.org/hamilton-dashboard
“The idea of Russian active measures is to win through the force of politics, not the politics of force,” said ASD’s non-resident fellow Clint Watts. “Hamilton 2.0 allows us to identify how the Russian government seek to divide us – the themes and narratives they push and the audiences they target. By focusing Hamilton 2.0 on tracking official Russian accounts across platforms, we’re going straight to the source of information manipulation.”
Hamilton 2.0 is the second iteration of ASD’s Hamilton 68 dashboard, which was retired at the end of 2018. The new interface enables reporters, researchers and interested citizens to identify the narratives Russia’s government seeks to promote in the United States and abroad – providing a big picture look at its strategic attempts to manipulate information around its geopolitical interests.
“Hamilton 2.0 enables analysis that goes beyond the daily churn of the news cycle and studies long-term strategies employed by official Russian diplomatic and state-backed media accounts,” said ASD’s disinformation fellow Bret Schafer. “For example, a review of Hamilton 2.0’s captured data provides clear evidence of Russia’s strategic decision to position itself as China’s cheerleader in the West by presenting pro-Beijing positions on the ongoing Hong Kong protests, trade war, and controversy over Huawei. The focus on long-term trends over bot networks amplifying the most divisive story of the day, allows researchers, reporters and interested citizens to better understand the Kremlin’s strategic messaging.”
Among other features, the tool will rank the most active accounts in the data set, most popular tweets and hashtags, most discussed topics and countries, most shared articles on Facebook, and more. Hamilton 2.0 also provides summaries of daily video news segments from RT’s English television broadcasts, and archives RT America and RT UK videos posted to YouTube. Hamilton 2.0 was developed in partnership with DeBunk.eu, VidRover, and Atlas Public Policy.
LINKS & RESOURCES:
Initial Key Findings:
- Russia is China's cheerleader. Russian diplomats and media have assumed the role of China's cheerleader in the West, presenting pro-Beijing positions on the ongoing Hong Kong protests, trade war, and controversy over Huawei. RT has actively promoted health concerns related to 5G expansion in the United States and Europe while simultaneously championing Huawei as a corporate innovator, including a series of positive "exclusives" at Huawei company headquarters.
- Russian state-sponsored broadcast media rarely covers Russia. Russian broadcast media outlets that target the West cover everything from political correctness to Brexit to health conspiracy theories. One topic that gets limited airtime: Russia itself. Analysis of Russian state-sponsored broadcast news outlets show that Russia is rarely discussed, except in instances where Russia is portrayed as a victim of the West. For example, RT America and RT UK's YouTube channels posted just two segments covering the recent nuclear accident in Arkhangelsk, both criticizing Western media coverage of the event. By comparison, there have been over 40 segments dedicated to Jeffrey Epstein. The Russian government prioritizes negative content that divides Americans and Europeans and sows distrust, rather than content that would promote a positive image of Russia. This exemplifies Russia's efforts to represent Western democracies as weak, divided, and hypocritical in order to justify its corrupt government to its people.
- Russia works daily to paint a picture of the West as a dystopian, big-brother state. RT's coverage of issues related to censorship, the free press, privacy, and state surveillance by other governments stands in stark contrast to the Russian government's own record on each of those fronts. Despite this hypocrisy, RT and Sputnik have effectively seized upon grievances - some real and some perceived - that resonate with both the left and the right in Western democracies.
LINKS & RESOURCES:
Read about the methodology here.
Interact with the Hamilton 2.0 dashboard here.
Reporters interested in a Hamilton 2.0 briefing should reach out to Rachael Dean Wilson at RWilson@securingdemocracy.org.