Russian designed another way spread false information about it Invasion of Ukraineusing digital tricks that allow it war Promotional videos to circumvent restrictions imposed by governments and tech companies.
Accounts linked to Russian state-controlled media have used this new method to spread dozens of videos over 18 years different languagesall without leaving any sign of leaking sources, researchers at U.S. intelligence agency Nisos companies that track false information and other cyber threats, said in an article report released on Wednesday.
The videos advance Kremlin conspiracy theories, blaming Ukraine for civilian casualties and claiming Ukrainian residents Areas annexed by Russia Welcome to their occupiers.
An English version of the Russian propaganda video is now circulating on Twitter and lesser-known platforms popular with American conservatives, including Gab and Truth Social, founded by former President Donald Trump, Provide Russia with direct access to millions of people.
“The genius of this approach is that the video can be downloaded directly from Telegram, eliminating the trail that the researchers are trying to track,” Patricia Bailey, a senior intelligence analyst at Nisos, told The Associated Press. “They are creative and adaptable. They are Analyzing their audience.”
EU moved to Ban RT and SputnikTwo of Russia’s main state-run media outlets in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February.Tech companies such as Google’s YouTube and Meta’s Facebook and Instagram have also announced plans to Ban content from sites Within the 27-nation EU, Russia’s ability to spread its propaganda has been weakened.
Russia’s attempts to bypass the new rules began almost immediately. A new website was created to host videos debunking the war. Russian diplomats did some of the work.
The latest effort revealed by Nisos analysts involved uploading promotional videos to Telegram, a loosely moderated platform widely popular in Eastern Europe and used by many conservatives in the United States. In some cases, the watermark identifying the video as RT is removed to further disguise its origin.
On Telegram, the videos were downloaded and retweeted to platforms including Twitter, without any hashtags or other indication that the video was produced by Russian state media. Nisos researchers linked hundreds of accounts that then posted or retweeted the video to the Russian military, embassy or state media.
Some accounts appear to use fake profile photos or post content in bizarre ways that suggest they are inauthentic.
One example: a Twitter account said to be run by a woman living in Japan who has a unique interest in Russian propaganda. Instead of posting content on various topics such as entertainment, food, travel or family, the account user posted only Russian promotional videos – not only in Japanese, but also in Persian, Polish, Spanish and Russian.
The account also quoted or retweeted content from the Russian embassy hundreds of times, again showing the close relationship between Russian diplomats and the country’s propaganda efforts, the researchers found.
When it comes to Russia’s overall disinformation capabilities, the network is “just one piece of a pretty big puzzle,” Bailey said.
Twitter identified it as a marker for content from Russian state media. Since late February, the company said it has tagged more than 900,000 different tweets containing links to Russian state media outlets such as RT. Additionally, the platform does not artificially promote content from state media accounts.
A company spokesperson told The Associated Press: “When an account is run by a state-backed media outlet, such as a state-backed media outlet, we use hashtags to make it clear on Twitter that we do not recommend or amplify tweets from these types of accounts. arts.” .
As the war dragged on, more examples of Russian disinformation campaigns emerged.
Russia last week Attempts to spread unfounded conspiracy theories Accusing the US of sabotaging the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea.
That same week, Meta announced the discovery of a Huge Russian disinformation network Created sites to look like major European news outlets. The sites are not news, but propaganda aimed at sowing discord between Ukraine and its Western allies.
The researchers concluded that this was the largest operation of its kind launched in Russia since the war began.
The network demonstrated an overarching pattern of anti-Ukraine targeting and support for Russian interests, according to a report by the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Research Laboratory, which helped identify the networks banned by Meta.
Follow AP’s coverage of the Ukraine war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine