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​Russian Troll Farm “Cyber Front Z” Targeting Musicians to Spread Ukraine Disinformation

May 19th, 2022 14:33

UK media report­ed this month that the Russ­ian troll farm “Cyber Front Z” has tar­get­ed some of the world’s biggest elec­tron­ic musi­cians in Europe, includ­ing Daft Punk, David Guet­ta, and Tiës­to, to spread war mis­in­for­ma­tion and sup­port for Putin’s inva­sion of Ukraine. Accord­ing to a report by Mixmag:

May 4, 2022 A Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion oper­a­tion based in an old arms fac­to­ry in St Peters­burg have tar­get­ed some of the world’s biggest elec­tron­ic musi­cians in Europe, includ­ing Daft Punk, David Guet­ta, and Tiës­to. As report­ed by The Guardian, the ‘troll fac­to­ry’ aims to spread war mis­in­for­ma­tion and sup­port for Putin’s inva­sion of Ukraine. The UK gov­ern­ment is now tak­ing action and cit­ing research into the case. […] Social media accounts of elec­tron­ic musi­cians, as well as Ger­man rock group Ramm­stein, are amongst those tar­get­ed. Their activ­i­ty was most com­mon­ly found on Insta­gram, YouTube, and Tik­Tok, with some detec­tion on Twit­ter and Face­book. […] Accord­ing to research, the oper­a­tion com­pen­sat­ed Tik­Tok influ­encers to spread pro-Krem­lin and pro-war pro­pa­gan­da, by recruit­ing and hir­ing “salaried workers”.

Read the rest here.

Accord­ing to a report by the Guardian, the troll fac­to­ry is sus­pect­ed to be linked to Yevge­ny Prigozhin, the founder of the Inter­net Research Agency accused of med­dling in the 2016 elec­tion that saw Don­ald Trump win the pres­i­den­cy. The same report says the Telegram chan­nel “Cyber Front Z” has played a key role in the network.

In April, the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report report­ed that Cyber Front Z con­sists of a pub­lic-fac­ing Telegram chan­nel where vol­un­teers are direct­ed to post dis­in­for­ma­tion under their own names and a pri­vate, pro­fes­sion­al troll army paid to post sim­i­lar dis­in­for­ma­tion using fake iden­ti­ties. Accord­ing to an inves­ti­ga­tion by Russ­ian inde­pen­dent media, over 100 Cyber Front Z trolls are offered a month­ly salary of around $431.96 to post pro-Russ­ian com­ments on con­tent as direct­ed by Cyber Front Z super­vi­sors. The Telegram chan­nel has amassed more than 102,000 sub­scribers since the begin­ning of Russia’s inva­sion of Ukraine.