According to reports from Facebook and Twitter, the social media giants took down two anti-Ukrainian “covert influence operations” over the weekend, one which was tied to Russia and another that allegedly had connections to Belarus.
Disinformation experts have warned that Russia is expected to keep trying to manipulate narratives about what is happening in Ukraine.
One of the operations was apparently a propaganda campaign that featured a website pushing anti-Ukraine talking points and was found to be an offshoot of a known Russian disinformation operation.
A spokesperson for Facebook said the operation used computer-generated faces to increase the credibility of fake columnists across multiple platforms including Instagram.
The other campaign used accounts that had been hacked to posit similar anti-Ukraine propaganda and was found to have ties to a Belarusian hacking group.
The networks that ended up being removed by Facebook and Twitter were pushing narratives that Putin mentioned himself when he announced a military operation in a speech, which has now turned into a full scale invasion of Ukraine.
According to the announcement, Russia continues to use disinformation strategies that have been advancing, most notably with the addition of software that can create realistic and novel human faces.
Nathaniel Gleicher, the security policy head for Meta, the parent company of Facebook, said in an interview that the propaganda campaign was able to “seed stories across the internet that Ukraine isn’t doing well” by “pretending to be journalists based in Kyiv.”
He added, “The good news is that neither of these campaigns have been that effective, but we do see these actors trying to target Ukraine at this point. These actors are trying to undermine trust in the Ukrainian government, suggest that it’s a failed state, suggest that the war is going very poorly in Ukraine or trying to praise Russia.”
ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NBC NEWS