Hungry for learning from the best disinformation tactics? Today, on the menu, we propose Indian Chronicles’ recipe for setting up fake local media, complete with fake journalists.
How to create a fake local media outlet?
One could imagine creating an ecosystem of fake content as huge as Indian Chronicles would be very difficult, if not impossible to pull off. But fear not! You just need to follow these few steps, and always remember the motto: Fake it ‘til you make it!
1 – Find a good name
Pick the name of a dead newspaper or try to use catchy stuff that would remind people of a real newspaper!
In 2019, Indian Chronicles came up with the Times of Los Angeles, Times of Moscow, and MSNBC.UK, so you’ll have to be more imaginative! You can also be bold and develop the Times of North Korea, edited from Pyongyang.
Indian Chronicle tip: try to find a good graphic designer. You don’t want readers to run away because of your fake media logo.
2 – Establish your virtual office in REGUS at one of their addresses
Ever fancied virtually working from abroad? Regus offers a wide variety of virtual offices so you can claim a fake local anchorage. Just pick the one you prefer using their search engine.
At EU DisinfoLab, we’re definitely considering a bigger office in Brussels:
3 – Set up your website and Twitter
Buy a domain name providing false pieces of information, so nobody will bother you. Also, don’t forget to mention you’re full of ethics, but never disclose any name so as not to face any consequences.
4 – Imagine your dream team
By the way, have you thought about inventing names for your fake journalists? Hurry up!
5 – Copy-paste content
Take as much content as you can from legitimate sources. It will make it look like you have a big newsroom. For instance, here is the Times of Los Angeles (not as famous as its brother organisation The Los Angeles Times) copy-pasting from a North Korean press agency.
EU Chronicle tip: don’t forget to copy-paste the whole content and not only half of it!
6 – In fact, copy-paste everything you possibly can
Beyond content, there are many other things you can copy-paste: privacy policies, legal mentions, advertisements, etc.
Remember, you’re not a real organisation, so don’t worry about regulations like the GDPR!
7 – Contact policymakers and make them believe you’re a big independent media platform!
And you’re good to go. With a bit of luck, big news agencies such as ANI might cover your new media within days of your creation.
Special: A day in Rita Storen’s shoes: life as an EU Chronicle “journalist”
We’ve received many questions about how to create fake journalists for fake media. This is clearly a crucial step in your operation. We share here one of our best examples, Rita Storen from EU Chronicle.
We have presented this in a light-hearted way, but creating fake media remains one of the main tactics employed by disinformation actors. Be wary of all the signs we just mentioned. And as always: think before clicking and think before sharing.