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Twitter, Facebook Remove Accounts Linked to Russian, Belorussian Disinformation Campaign Targeting Ukrainians

February 28th, 2022 12:15

US media is report­ing that Twit­ter and Face­book have removed two anti-Ukrain­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion net­works from their plat­forms. The com­pa­nies said the influ­ence oper­a­tions were linked to Rus­sia and Belarus and tar­get­ed Ukraini­ans. Accord­ing to an NBC report:

Feb­ru­ary 28, 2022 Face­book and Twit­ter removed two anti-Ukrain­ian “covert influ­ence oper­a­tions” over the week­end, one tied to Rus­sia and anoth­er with con­nec­tions to Belarus, the com­pa­nies said.  One of the oper­a­tions, a pro­pa­gan­da cam­paign fea­tur­ing a web­site push­ing anti-Ukraine talk­ing points, was an off­shoot of a known Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion oper­a­tion. A Face­book spokesper­son said it used com­put­er-gen­er­at­ed faces to bol­ster the cred­i­bil­i­ty of fake colum­nists across sev­er­al plat­forms, includ­ing Insta­gram.  The oth­er cam­paign used hacked accounts to push sim­i­lar anti-Ukraine pro­pa­gan­da and was tied to a known Belaru­sian hack­ing group. […] The larg­er of the two dis­in­for­ma­tion groups oper­at­ed in Rus­sia, as well as the Russ­ian-dom­i­nat­ed Don­bas and Crimea regions of Ukraine, said Nathaniel Gle­ich­er, Meta’s head of secu­ri­ty pol­i­cy, and it is tied to the web­sites News Front and South Front, which the U.S. gov­ern­ment has des­ig­nat­ed as part of a broad­er dis­in­for­ma­tion effort that had con­nec­tions to Russ­ian intel­li­gence. […] Face­book said it took down 40 pro­files tied to the dis­in­for­ma­tion oper­a­tion, say­ing the pro­files were a small part of a larg­er per­sona-build­ing oper­a­tion that spread across Twit­ter, Insta­gram, Telegram and Russ­ian social net­works. […] Twit­ter said it banned more than a dozen accounts tied to the News Front and South Front Russ­ian oper­a­tion, which were push­ing links to a new pro­pa­gan­da site called Ukraine Today. […] Face­book said it took down a sep­a­rate mul­ti­pronged dis­in­for­ma­tion oper­a­tion by a known hack­ing group based out of Belarus that tar­get­ed Ukraini­ans. The com­pa­ny said it hacked social media accounts to use them to spread pro-Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da. […] Face­book attrib­uted the efforts to the hack­ing group Ghost­writer, which pre­vi­ous­ly used hacked accounts to push dis­in­for­ma­tion that favored the Belarus government.

Read the rest here.

In addi­tion to remov­ing Rus­sia-linked fake accounts, US social media com­pa­nies Face­book and YouTube recent­ly announced they are block­ing Russ­ian state media from run­ning ads on their plat­forms, while Twit­ter is sus­pend­ing all adver­tis­ing in Ukraine and Russia.