Russia is peddling anti-GMO propaganda to the US public

Genetically engineered crops hold promise for addressing world hunger, reducing the need for harmful pesticides, and more. Despite that, GMOs remain a popular — and controversial — topic in fringe and conspiracy communities, many fueled by unfounded concerns or inaccurate information. Here to bolster those communities and potentially grow their follower numbers is Russia and its GMO propaganda targeted at the US.

The claims come from Iowa State University researchers who reveal an alleged dedicated effort by Russia to turn US public opinion against GMO crops. According to the research, Russia is financially backing online articles that raise doubt over GMO crop safety, a move said to be a deliberate effort to hurt the nation's agricultural interests.

In addition, Russia is allegedly attempting to present itself as an ecologically clean alternative to the "dangerous" GMO crops in the US, pushing its own interests by sowing seeds of doubt in the US. As with other propaganda, existing fringe groups are likely to gravitate toward this propaganda without regards for accuracy or legitimacy, feeding it back into the system via social media.

By doing this, Russia may be working to grow its agricultural industries, but the ramifications could impact the entire world. Many legitimate, scientific studies have found genetically modified crops and other food to be safe and healthy. Bill Gates recently praised the existence of GMO food in his most recent Reddit AMA, stating among other things that "the technique has the possibility to reduce starvation and malnutrition when it is reviewed in the right way."

Assuming the research is correct, this marks yet another aspect of US public opinion that Russia seeks to influence and manipulate using online resources. The country has been in the news extensively lately for its meddling in the 2016 US election, a time during which it used Facebook and other social media sites to spread fake news.

SOURCE: Des Moines Register