Meta Removes Over 1,600 Facebook Accounts Spreading Russian Propaganda On Ukraine

Researchers said they couldn't directly attribute the network to the Russian government, but Meta's director David Agranovich noted the role of Russian diplomats.

Meta Removes Over 1,600 Facebook Accounts Spreading Russian Propaganda On Ukraine
Meta owns social media platforms Facebook and Instagram. (Image: Reuters)

 

META on Tuesday said it disabled a huge Russian network spreading disinformation about Ukraine through hundreds of fake social media accounts and dozens of news websites. The network was being used to spread Kremlin's talking points about the invasion of Ukraine.

The social media giant said more than 1,600 fake Facebook accounts were used to spread the propaganda to users in Germany, Italy, France, the UK and Ukraine.

Alleging that it was the largest and most complex Russian attempt at spreading propaganda since the invasion Ukraine began, the company said it identified and disabled the operation before it was able to gain a large audience.

The operation involved more than 60 websites created to mimic legitimate news sites including The Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom and Germany's Der Spiegel.

Instead of the actual news reported by those outlets, however, the fake sites contained links to Russian propaganda and disinformation about Ukraine.

The findings highlighted both the promise of social media companies to police their sites and the peril that disinformation continues to pose.

The network's activities were first noticed by investigative reporters in Germany. When Meta began its investigation it found that many of the fake accounts had already been removed by Facebook's automated systems.

Thousands of people were following the network's Facebook pages when they were deactivated earlier this year.

Researchers said they couldn't directly attribute the network to the Russian government, but Meta's director David Agranovich noted the role of Russian diplomats. He said the operation relied on some sophisticated tactics, including the use of multiple languages and carefully constructed imposter websites.

(With inputs from AP)

 

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