Britons warn of Pro-Russian internet disinformation and propaganda activity
In a report, commissioned by the British government and whose authors were not identified for security reasons, it is shown as “the Kremlin spreading lies on social networks and in the comments of ‘sites’ with a large audience”.
A statement on the report said that this Russian disinformation campaign “is designed to manipulate international public opinion about the Russian war in Ukraine.”
According to the document, pro-Russian agents recruit Telegram ‘trolls’ who are paid to target Western world leaders on social media and broadcast pro-Kremlin propaganda.
“We cannot allow the Kremlin and its ‘troll factories’ to invade our online spaces with their lies,” warned UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.
“The UK government has alerted its partners abroad and will continue to work with allies and ‘online’ platforms to combat Russian disinformation operations,” he added.
Among the leaders targeted are Boris Johnson, but also German Chancellor Olaf Scholz or the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borell.
Daft Punk, David Guetta and German metal band Rammstein were also targets of the disinformation campaign, which is very active on Instagram, YouTube and Tiktok, the statement said.
Another technique used by pro-Russian trolls is to expand and give more visibility to the comments of common users who are in favor of the Kremlin, the study points out, as a way of escaping the measures put in place by social networks to combat disinformation in their platforms.
A group known on Telegram as “Cyber Front Z” is at the center of these maneuvers and is using an old weapons factory located in St. Petersburg, Russia as facilities.
The group is suspected of having links to Yevgueni Prigojine, an oligarch close to Vladimir Putin accused of playing a role in Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, the British government attests.