Two anti-Ukrainian covert influence operations have been removed from social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. According to the Silicon Valley Masters of the Universe, one group is based in Russia, and the other in Belarus.
NBC News reports on Facebook and Twitter’s removal of anti-Ukrainian covert influence operations. According to social media giants, one operation was linked with Russia while another appeared to have connections in Belarus.
One disinformation operation was a propaganda campaign that featured a website encouraging anti-Ukraine information. According to reports, this was linked to a Russian disinformation operation. Facebook spokesperson said that disinformation operations used AI-generated faces to link to fake columnists, news articles and to increase credibility.
Another disinformation operation, which allegedly used legitimate accounts to spread anti-Ukrainian propaganda, had links to a well-known Belarusian hacking group and hacked into legitimate accounts. Both Facebook and Twitter removed the networks.
Nathaniel Gleicher is Facebook’s head for security policy. He stated that the largest of the two campaigns was based in Russia, as well as the Donbass and Crimea regions of Ukraine. According to reports, the group is linked to News Front and South Front websites that the U.S. government had previously classified as part of wide disinformation efforts by Russia.
Gleicher pointed out that the propaganda campaign was designed to “seed stories across internet that Ukraine isn’t doing well,” by “pretending that they are journalists based in Kyiv.” Gleicher said: “The bad news is that neither one of these campaigns has been very effective, but we do observe these actors trying to target Ukraine.”
He continued, “These actors are trying undermine trust in Ukraine’s government, suggest it’s a failing state, suggest the war in Ukraine is very poor or trying to praise Russia.”
Facebook deleted the profiles of News Front, South Front and other organizations from its platform in 2020. These websites featured articles like “Zelensky is building a neoNazi dictatorship Ukraine” and “Why Ukraine won’t get better.”
Facebook claims it has taken down 40 profiles related to disinformation campaigns. They claim that they were part a larger persona building operation across Twitter, Instagram and Telegram as well as Russian social media networks.
Twitter claims that it has banned more than a dozen accounts related to the News Front or South Front operations. Twitter spokeswoman said that more than 12 accounts were suspended and several links blocked in violation of the platform manipulation and spam policy. While our investigation continues, we believe that accounts and links were originated in Russia. They were trying to disrupt public discourse about the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
The ongoing conflict between Russia, Ukraine and other countries has been heavily influenced by misinformation. Many are falling prey to internet memes and hoaxes. Breitbart News reported recently that Rep. Adam Kinzinger was a victim to a popular prank in which Sam Hyde was framed as the pilot known as the “Ghost of Kyiv.”
NeverTrump Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R.Illinois) was pranked by internet pranksters. They retweeted the viral hoax that the Ghost of Kyiv, an alleged Ukrainian fighter ace was a man named “Samuyil Hyde,” and quickly spread memes naming Sam Hyde, an American comedian, as the perpetrator in mass shootings. Rep. Kinzinger was tricked by a poor photoshop that transformed Hyde into a cockpit, with an ethnic spin.