The rumors surrounding Princess Kate are linked to Russia

A Russian disinformation group fueled the conspiracy theories and rumor mongering surrounding Princess Kate’s health.
That assessment is made by a group of researchers in Great Britain after analyzing social media,
reports the BBC.
The campaign is believed to be connected, among other things, to the British royal family’s commitment to Ukraine.

Before Kate announced in a video on Friday that she has cancer, a flurry of conspiracy theories and rumors about her health spread on social media. The posts were rewarded by algorithms and received millions of views and likes, first without any external influence.

But now a research group at the Institute for Security, Crime and Intelligence at the University of Cardiff in the UK has concluded that a Russian disinformation group fueled the rumor-mongering and conspiracy theories.

More efficient approach

By analyzing social media, they have been able to see, among other things, that hundreds of new accounts have been created on X, formerly Twitter. The accounts have since posted identical claims about the princess’s health fueling ongoing rumor-mongering and division.

The researchers also discovered thousands of newly started accounts on Tiktok, which exclusively spread conspiracy theories about Kate.

– By “hijacking” already ongoing rumor spreading, you create more confusion and chaos. In that way, it becomes more difficult for the public to separate coordinated disinformation from ordinary individuals sharing conspiracy theories and chasing clicks, says Martin Innes to the BBC.

Specific group

According to the researchers, the approach is identical to how a specific Russian disinformation group has worked in the past. According to the researchers, the group then focused on campaigns to reduce the West’s support for Ukraine by fueling an already existing development of events and creating further division, which according to the researchers is a more effective approach than starting a new rumor spread from scratch.

– The group’s message around Kate seems to be wrapped up in an ongoing campaign to denigrate Ukraine, says Martin Innes, head of research at the University of Cardiff, to the BBC.

The campaign is likely linked to the British royal family’s commitment to Ukraine, according to the researchers, and aims to create social division.

The disinformation group is not part of the Russian state, but is linked to people who have been sanctioned by the United States following allegations that they spread fake news in the country.