Ukraine war: UK accuses ‘sick Russian troll factory’ of ‘disturbing social media with Kremlin propaganda’ | Science & Technology News

Britain has accused a “sick Russian troll factory” of “annoying social media with Kremlin propaganda” after funding what it said was expert research to the organization. .

Called Cyber ​​Front Z – uses the insignia used by Russiainvasion force of Ukraine – it was first discovered in March by the St Petersburg-based Fontanka news organization.

The State Department said its research found how the Kremlin “distributed lies on social media and in the comments sections”, although for security reasons it did not identify the journalists. research and explain why they qualify as experts.

According to Fontanka, Cyber ​​Front Z is advertising jobs on social media platform Telegram asking workers to post 200 comments a day on platforms including Instagram and YouTube for a salary of 45,000 rubles a month – about 500 pounds.

Information warfare is waged from the old weapons factory

Its headquarters are said to be in rented space in the Arsenal Machine Factory in St Petersburg, a company that produces military equipment and technology.

Fontanka’s undercover reporter worked at the organization’s headquarters for a month and discovered that professional fraudsters were given accounts to operate using their own computers for a number of purposes, including including amplifying content in favor of the Russian story and attacking its critics.

The report also links the new activity to the Internet Research Agency – a private organization also based in St Petersburg and believed to be run by Evgeny Prigozhin, a close ally of Putin – accused of interfering in the US presidential election 2016 saw Donald Trump get elected president.

Read more: Why exaggerating disinformation campaigns helps hostile nations

The State Department said the scammers had “cruelly targeted politicians and audiences across a number of countries including the UK, South Africa and India”.

Britain has pledged to support Ukraine against the Russian invasion, although South Africa and India have both been criticized for not condemning the invasion.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “We cannot allow the Kremlin and its shady troll farms to invade our online space with their lies about Putin’s illegal war.”

“The UK government has warned its international partners and will continue to work closely with allies and media platforms to disrupt Russian information activities,” she added.

‘Putin’s propaganda machine is deceiving the world’

Culture Minister Nadine Dorries said: “These are covert attempts by Putin and his propaganda machine to mislead the world about the atrocities he has inflicted on the Ukrainian people.

“This evidence will help us more effectively identify and remove Russian disinformation and follows our decisive action to prevent anyone from doing business with the RT and Sputnik outlets. controlled by the Kremlin.”

The name Cyber ​​Front Z is used by a Telegram channel that is trying to recruit and publicly organize people to amplify pro-Putin content and attack critics of the Russian President.

Read more: Why does Russia use the letter ‘Z’ and what does it mean?

The UK government said it would share its research with major social media platforms. Sources involved in fighting Russian scammers at two of those platforms told Sky News they were very aware of Cyber ​​Front Z.

They dismissed the State Department’s suggestion that scammers use VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) to mask their physical locations as a “major tactical innovation” – Facebook says it has identified and temporarily discontinued the VPN accounts they associated with the Internet Research Agency in 2018. .

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