In war, disinformation is a powerful weapon. In fact, with the rise of the Internet and social media, disinformation is a more dangerous than ever before. As deepfake surrenders and fake news spread through literal disinformation farms, it’s paramount for agencies to remove sources of false intelligence.
Ukraine shuts down disinformation farms
Via Bleeping Computer, the Ukrainian Security Service (SSU) revealed that the Russian army has shut down physical bot farms spreading disinformation. Since the start of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine, five separate farms have been closed down.
The disinformation ring spread across Kharkiv, Cherkasy, Ternopil, and Zakarpattia. Disinformation farms were running fake social media profiles accounts Twitter, Facebook and more with false claims, especially on posts criticising Russia.
Across just five disinformation farms, over 100,000 fake social media accounts were found. These accounts were used to target Ukraine-focused posts with false information to discourage the Ukranian public, create panic, and turn people against Ukraine.
With most of the world currently against Russia, Ukraine-focused disinformation attempts to paint a picture that Russia has been trying to paint for a while. For example, typical anti-Ukraine usually attempts to convince people not in the know that “Zelensky is building a neo-Nazi dictatorship in Ukraine”.
It’s Russia’s greatest tool
Russia has long been lauded for its effective use of disinformation farms as the use of social media has continued to rise. The country’s mass use of bots can be dated back as far as the 2016 American Election.
Back in 2016, Russian disinformation farms — known them as Troll farms — pretended to be Americans supporting radical ideologies. This included the spread is false articles across social media. This very same activity is happening right now.
Disinformation campaigns are a hauntingly efficient tool, especially in the Western world. Essentially, the bots are used to spread the same information en masse, indoctrinating others into thinking same way. After all, if thousands of people are saying it, then it must be true, right?
Thankfully, it doesn't appear that Russia’s campaign against Ukraine has been effective in the Western world. While social media posts still spread lies and false articles, most of the Western world is keyed into this particular conflict.