US claims to bust ‘Russian bot farm’ spreading propaganda on X

Suspected fake accounts were used to amplify Russian state TV station’s reach on social media, DOJ claims

Vishwam Sankaran
Wednesday 10 July 2024 10:27
Comments
Related: Russia uses international waters for crude oil transit amid Western sanctions

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

The US Department of Justice said it has cracked down on hundreds of X accounts which it claimed were part of an “AI-enhanced” Russian bot farm.

The fake accounts, the DOJ said, were designed to look like they belonged to Americans and posted “Russian propaganda content” about the war in Ukraine.

It seized 968 social media accounts and two domain names supposedly used to promote messages in support of the Russian government, an affidavit unsealed on Tuesday revealed.

An investigation conducted by the DOJ, the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security and police in the Netherlands found that a deputy editor-in-chief at Russia’s state TV news station RT “led the development of software that was able to create and to operate a social media bot farm”, the affidavit claimed.

“Today’s action demonstrates that Justice Department and our partners won’t tolerate Russian government actors and their agents deploying AI to sow disinformation and fuel division among Americans,” Lisa Monaco, US deputy attorney general, said.

The alleged bot farm was used to “distribute information on a wide-scale basis” and amplify the Russian state TV station’s “reach on social media”, the DOJ claimed.

The RT deputy editor allegedly behind the bot farm is involved with a private intelligence organisation that’s suspected to have been created by a member of Russia’s Federal Security Service in 2023. Its purpose, according to the DOJ, is “to advance the mission of the FSB and the Russian government, including by spreading disinformation through the social media accounts created by the bot farm”.

“Russia intended to use this bot farm to disseminate AI-generated foreign disinformation, scaling their work with assistance of AI to undermine our partners in Ukraine and influence geopolitical narratives favorable to the Russian government,” FBI director Christopher Wray said.

“Today’s actions represent a first in disrupting a Russian-sponsored generative AI-enhanced social media bot farm.”

The fake social media accounts were created with “personas” including biographical information, political ideologies and a location. One account, for example, claimed to be a “free speech absolutist” and a Bitcoin enthusiast from Minneapolis.

An AI software enabled the alleged bot farm to easily create “personas” for the fake X accounts, the DOJ claimed.

RT did not immediately respond to The Independent’s request for comment.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in

news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news