Analytical experts of the Lithuanian Armed Forces Strategic Communications Department on a non-stop monitoring of information space warn that attempts to spread disinformation , fake news, counterfeited facts, misguide the public and manipulate sentiment are intensifying in the information and cyberspace of our country making use of the COVID-19 pandemic.
176 incidents of informational character that build on the COVID-19 context were found on March 26-April 2.
The total of 467 incidents of various types in cyberspace were identified on February 1-April 2.
Actions taken by the Government of Lithuania to manage the COVID-19 emergency in the country , Lithuania's EU and NATO membership, European Union and relations among member states were the main targets of disinformation over that time.
Experts of the Lithuanian Armed Forces Strategic Communication Department note that a variety of conspiracy theories, false information, rumours, fake news and manipulation of public sentiment are used to disable critical thinking of the Lithuanian society, to promote opposition between defence and healthcare and education sectors, to cause the level of national defence and NATO commitments to shrink, to increase social division and the divide between the citizens and the state, to fuel distrust in the European union and NATO, to undercut the confidence of foreign partners and allies in Lithuania by spreading fake news to Western audiences through coordinated information and cyber-attacks, to undermine development of communications infrastructure in Lithuania by spreading fake news about the 5G network.
For example, a rumour is spread that the novel coronavirus does not exist, it is a purposeful lie of certain interest groups to introduce the 5G network in schools and kindergartens. Or separate groups on social media are sharing fake news on ill and recovered individuals.
According to the Lithuanian Armed Forces Strategic Communication Department, fake news, manipulation of facts and information is a serious threat to the state and its citizens. Lithuania and the entire world is in the fight against the pandemic. Any attempt to misguide the public , spread fear and cause tension may have painful results, therefore it is critical for everyone to stay vigilant, assess facts critically, and rely on official information.