The FT carries a good article on fake news and the move from nation-state to more general use…:
[…] Fake news was thrust into the spotlight following the 2016 presidential election, particularly after US investigations found co-ordinated efforts by a Russian “troll farm”, the Internet Research Agency, to manipulate the result. Since then, dozens of clandestine, state-backed campaigns — targeting the political landscape in other countries or domestically — have been uncovered by researchers and the social media platforms on which they run, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. But experts also warn that disinformation tactics typically used by Russian trolls are also beginning to be wielded in the hunt of profit — including by groups looking to besmirch the name of a rival, or manipulate share prices with fake announcements, for example.
Occasionally activists are also employing these tactics to give the appearance of a groundswell of support, some say. Earlier this year, Facebook said it had found evidence that one of south-east Asia’s biggest telecoms providers, Viettel, was directly behind a number of fake accounts that had posed as customers critical of the company’s rivals, and spread fake news of alleged business failures and market exits, for example. Viettel said that it did not “condone any unethical or unlawful business practice”. The growing trend is due to the “democratisation of propaganda”, says Christopher Ahlberg, chief executive of cyber security group Recorded Future, pointing to how cheap and straightforward it is to buy bots or run a programme that will create deepfake images, for example.