A year later, how pro-Russian online campaigns have evolved | Business News


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(New York) — A year after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, a new report by social media company Meta details the unfolding of a pro-Russian influence campaign online.

The report describes the declining presence of Russian state media on Meta’s platforms, Facebook and Instagram, and the crude efforts by covert pro-Russian networks to maintain reach in the face of a crackdown by Meta. I’m here.

Meta reports that the company has responded to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine with restrictions on Russian state media outlets, including suppressing ads and limiting the outlet’s content reach in users’ feeds.

Since then, Meta has observed that Russian state media has become less active on its platform and its posts have received less attention.

But at the same time, some Russian state media are asking viewers to follow them on other platforms.

“Russian state media has significantly reduced its activity on our platform and shifted its focus elsewhere,” the company said.

Meta also secretly facilitated Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, including a group identified as “Cyberfront Z,” which the company said had ties to Evgeny Prigozhin, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. cracked down on the unofficial network of

Prigozhin was indicted in 2018 by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller for allegedly funding the Internet Research Agency, an online “troll farm” accused of trying to influence U.S. politics. rice field.

In November 2022, Prigozhin admitted to interfering in the US election in a social media statement.

In an August 2022 report, Meta said parts of the Cyberfront Z network are operated by individuals affiliated with the Internet Research Institute. The network’s existence was first revealed earlier that year in his March publication article by Russian outlet Fontanka.

Along with another pro-Russian network known as a “doppelganger,” Cyberfront Z was reportedly active not only on Meta’s platform, but also on other services such as Telegram, Twitter, TikTok and LinkedIn.

In an August report, Meta said the Cyber ​​Front Z network was “clumsy and largely ineffective”, noting that on Instagram, for example, more than half of the fake accounts created by the network were quickly detected and created. I pointed out that it was removed at that time.

“On our platform, these networks resemble brute-force ‘smash-and-grab’ attempts to use a large number of low-quality accounts at once in the hope that at least some will survive and escape detection. was The company said in its latest report:

When Meta cracked down on Cyber ​​Front Z and Doppleganger, they responded “aggressively” to restore their online presence. The scale is unusual for a covert influence campaign based in Russia, the company said.

In its report, Meta identified “thousands” of attempts to create fake accounts and “hundreds” of attempts to share fake websites, including those impersonating genuine news outlets. He said he detected and interfered.

In a report, Meta suggested that such aggression may result from a lack of preparation by the network’s operators for the unique circumstances of a fast-paced full-scale war, stating that the secret network’s chief , added that they are likely still being paid despite the low wages. The quality and minimal impact of their work.

“These actors can offer customers plausible denials, but they also have an interest in exaggerating their own effectiveness,” Meta said in the report.

Prigozhin, who allegedly runs an Internet research institute, is also known as the owner of the private military company Wagner, whose members have fought alongside the Russian military in Ukraine.

Meta’s latest report on a secret pro-Russian online network comes amid an increasingly public feud between Prigozhin and Russian military establishments. In a recent audio statement, Prigogine accused Russian military and defense officials of stealing ammunition from Wagner fighter jets.

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