RussiaDecember 24 2023, 11:05 am

Russia’s Anti-Ukraine Campaign Used Manipulated Celebrity Videos

On 7 Decem­ber 2023, The Record report­ed that Rus­sia-aligned groups manip­u­lat­ed videos of Amer­i­can celebri­ties to cre­ate anti-Ukraine pro­pa­gan­da. The cam­paign involved doc­tor­ing videos from sites like Cameo, where celebri­ties record per­son­al­ized mes­sages for a fee. Microsoft­’s report revealed that actors such as Eli­jah Wood, Dean Nor­ris, Kate Flan­nery, and box­er Mike Tyson were unknow­ing­ly involved in send­ing mes­sages to a fic­ti­tious ‘Vladimir’ about sub­stance abuse, which were then edit­ed to tar­get Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Volodymyr Zelen­sky. The manip­u­lat­ed videos includ­ed Ukrain­ian emo­jis and Zelen­sky’s social media han­dle, false­ly por­tray­ing him as a “cor­rupt drug addict.” Russ­ian state media, like RIA Novosti, fur­ther ampli­fied these false nar­ra­tives. The actors were unaware of the mis­use of their videos. Addi­tion­al­ly, Russ­ian actors cre­at­ed fake con­tent mim­ic­k­ing rep­utable media out­lets like BBC, Al-Jazeera, and Euronews to under­mine West­ern sup­port for Ukraine. One such video false­ly accused the Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary of a mis­sile strike on civil­ians, using BBC’s logo and aes­thet­ics but con­tain­ing lan­guage errors indica­tive of Slav­ic to Eng­lish translation.


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