— Whistleblower Lyudmila Savchuk criticises media misrepresentations of her by Fox News, The Daily Mail, The Los Angeles Times, and others
Last week, I published archived job ads for the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a pro-Putin “troll factory” based in St. Petersburg that was recently indicted for allegedly meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.
Via “Here Are Some Job Ads For The Russian Troll Factory” by Jane Lytvynenko, BuzzFeed News, February 22, 2018:
Job ads from the IRA posted before the election give a sense of the kind of person the agency was looking for and how it helped weed out candidates. The ads were posted on Russian employment websites in 2014 and 2015 and the address listed in them matches the known location of the IRA’s headquarters. The blog Shooting the Messenger first posted some of the job ads.
I also published an archived job review by a former IRA employee, who claimed that applicants were expected to work for free, and were dismissed when they tried to negotiate full-time job contracts.
Those claims are supported by another former troll factory employee, Russian freelance journalist and whistleblower Lyudmila Savchuk, who in 2015 sued IRA for non-payment of wages and for failing to provide employees with proper contracts.
Lyudmila Savchuk (source)
In a Facebook post published Tuesday, Savchuk criticised the media for misrepresenting her.
Colleagues, this text is very unpleasant to me, but I publish it. This is an appeal to the media.
Let’s get acquainted once again. If you take a comment or an interview from me, then you should make sure that I was correctly represented in the output.
I am a journalist, public activist and researcher of the problem of propaganda. At the troll factory, I conducted a personal investigation to find out how this works, and – most importantly! – How can you fight this problem. Any other use of my image is unacceptable; Do not deceive your readers and me.
If you call me to talk about “a former troll not listed in the FBI list,” then just do not call me. I understand that you do not have enough real trolls and you need to give blood from the nose to the actual material. But you do not need to communicate with me as an expert, which I am, and then use it to create an entertaining, but fake picture. Now I continue my studies, I lecture, I work on projects related to the media, I’m writing a book. I can tell you interesting, important things, and do not necessarily humiliate me to make interesting material.
If you want to talk about Russian propaganda, do not use her methods in your articles and stories. Remain professional.
The problem of propaganda and disinformation is too serious, and I am seriously concerned about it, and I do what I can. Activists in St. Petersburg are beaten and pressed in the police, we live in eternal tension and fear. And I ask you, dear media, to take our actions seriously. I ask you to remember about the journalistic responsibility to the readers and people about whom you write.