Monday, July 15, 2024

The US thwarts Russian state-sponsored disinformation effort utilizing AI technology

Russian propaganda campaign disrupted by Justice Department in the United States

Russian-backed internet propaganda campaign disrupted by Justice Department, seizing nearly 1,000 bogus social media accounts

In a major operation aimed at combating foreign disinformation, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday the disruption of a Russian internet propaganda campaign that relied on artificial intelligence and spread false information in the United States. This campaign was orchestrated by the Kremlin with the goal of sowing discord and advancing Russian government interests, particularly in the context of their war with Ukraine.

The operation, which targeted fictitious social media profiles designed to appear as legitimate users, was organized in 2022 by a senior editor at RT, a Russian-state funded media organization. The effort was financially backed by the Kremlin and supported by an officer of Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB, who led a private intelligence organization promoting disinformation through social media platforms.

FBI Director Christopher Wray emphasized the significance of disrupting this Russian-sponsored Generative AI-enhanced social media bot farm, which aimed to spread AI-generated foreign disinformation. Among the fake posts circulated by the campaign was a video in which Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that certain territories in Ukraine, Poland, and Lithuania were “gifts” from Russia during World War II.

The Justice Department seized two domain names and 968 accounts on X, a social media platform formerly known as Twitter, as part of the disruption effort. Additionally, the FBI collaborated with the Cyber National Mission Force, the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, and law enforcement in the Netherlands on a joint cybersecurity advisory related to the social media bot farm.

This operation comes amid increasing concerns about the impact of AI technology on elections and foreign influence campaigns on social media platforms. The announcement serves as a reminder of the ongoing threat posed by disinformation efforts orchestrated by adversaries seeking to shape public opinion and influence geopolitical narratives.

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