Fake websites of well-known publications, including the British newspaper The Guardian and the German magazine Der Spiegel, broadcast the Kremlin’s agenda. Russian diplomats had a hand in the scheme.
Specialists of the American company Meta, the owner of the Facebook and Instagram social networks, eliminated a large network of disinformation from Russia. This is written by the Associated Press agency with reference to Meta data.
The Russian network worked all summer and created hundreds of social media accounts and dozens of fake news websites to spread Kremlin propaganda about invading Ukraine. Meta said it was able to interrupt the bots before they affected a large audience.
Facebook said that this was the largest and most complex Russian propaganda campaign since the beginning of the military invasion of Ukraine. The Associated Press notes that the Russians used 60 sites, including the British newspaper The Guardian and the German magazine Der Spiegel.
Instead of normal news, clone sites published links to Russian propaganda and disinformation about Ukraine. More than 1,600 fake Facebook accounts spread propaganda in Germany, Italy, France, Great Britain and Ukraine.
Links to fake news were posted on fake accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Telegram and Twitter. Some publications contained messages from the official pages of Russian embassies in Europe and Asia.
Investigative journalists in Germany drew attention to the network of propagandists for the first time. When Meta began its investigation, it found that many of the fake accounts had already been removed by Facebook’s automated system.
Meta said that they cannot directly blame the Russian government for creating the network. Meta’s director of counter-threats, David Agranovich, emphasized the role of diplomats from Russia in this and said that the operation was based on complex tactics, the use of several languages ​​and the creation of fraudulent websites.
Researchers at Meta Platforms Inc. in Menlo Park (California, USA) discovered a much smaller network in China that spread political content in the USA.
The network reached a small audience in the US, because the posts were made by amateurs. The Americans immediately noticed the obvious mistakes in the English language, and published them during business hours for China. This network, while ineffective, was the first to be identified by Meta as anti-American.
“This network is important because it represents a new direction in China’s disinformation operations,” said Ben Nimmo, Meta’s head of global threat computing.