Russian PR firms plant stories for companies in news outlets

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For a small fee Russian trolls can boost your image or smear your competitors. The same tactics that was used to disrupt the 2016 U.S. presidential election, is finally available for a private sector, Fortune reports.

Recorded Future, a young cyber-security company in Massachusetts, decided to prove that beyond any reasonable doubt and created a fake U.K. company to hire two Russian PR firms that were supposed to wage information warfare on the company’s behalf. The firms were able to successfully place a total of four articles. Including one that appeared in a newspaper that has been published for nearly a century.

According to a rate card, fees begin at $180 and rise to as much as you can afford. “Prestigious” journalism outlets seem to be also on the list, with hefty prices to match of course:

Reuters: $8,360
Wallpaper: $8,404
Mashable: $13,370
Financial Times: $49,440

In a statement to Fortune, Reuters said it has stringent practices in place to ensure its coverage is free of misinformation. Wallpaper stated it has no reason to believe the Russian firms have planted content with the publication, and that it is seeking legal counsel on the matter. Mashable and the Financial Times did not respond.

So disinformation services appear to be a growing problem.

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