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Russia operated nearly 1,000 sock puppet accounts on X, Justice Department says

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  jbb  •  3 days ago  •  8 comments

By:   NBC News

Russia operated nearly 1,000 sock puppet accounts on X, Justice Department says
The Justice Department said Tuesday it had uncovered and dismantled a Russian propaganda network with nearly 1,000 accounts pushing pro-Russia posts on the social media platform X.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


July 9, 2024, 9:32 PM By David Ingram

The Justice Department said Tuesday it had uncovered and dismantled a Russian propaganda network with nearly 1,000 accounts pushing pro-Russia posts on the social media platform X.

The accounts on X posed as Americans, including a bitcoin investor in Minneapolis, but in reality they were masks for Russian operatives who had the approval and financial support of the Kremlin, the Justice Department said in court affidavits and in a news release.

The Russian operatives made the fictitious accounts with the help of artificial intelligence, which made it easier to produce images and generate text, the department said.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said the network was a bot farm used to spread disinformation in the U.S. and abroad, including about Russia's claims to Ukraine.

"As the Russian government continues to wage its brutal war in Ukraine and threatens democracies around the world, the Justice Department will continue to deploy all of our legal authorities to counter Russian aggression and protect the American people," Garland said in the news release.

The Justice Department did not detail whether the bot network had been particularly successful in its messaging efforts; similar attempts to spread propaganda and misinformation have struggled in recent years to gain traction. Still, experts have warned that disinformation continues to pose a major threat, particularly in relation to the coming U.S. election, as advanced technology, new tactics and a broad pullback from platform moderation combine to leave social media platforms vulnerable to foreign attacks.

X identified and suspended a "significant number" of the bot accounts before the Justice Department acted, and it has since voluntarily removed the rest, the department said. It said it commended X for its cooperation.

X, which is owned by tech billionaire Elon Musk, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Russian Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The people behind the accounts included affiliates of RT, a Russian state media organization that is banned in Europe, prosecutors said. In 2017, RT agreed to register in the U.S. as a foreign agent.

The posts on X included several video clips of Russian President Vladimir Putin talking about Ukraine and justifying Russia's war, according to the Justice Department.

The accounts disseminated disinformation "to and about a number of countries, including the United States, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Ukraine, and Israel," according to a cybersecurity advisory the FBI issued Tuesday in cooperation with Canadian and Dutch authorities.

It operated on X only, but the Russian operatives intended to expand to other social media platforms, the advisory says. They used a package of AI software tools known as Meliorator, according to the advisory.

In a filing in federal court in Arizona, Justice Department prosecutors published a list of 968 pro-Russia fake accounts on X that they said were covertly created from June 2022, when X was still a publicly traded company known as Twitter, to this March. Security researchers often call such accounts "sock puppets," because they obscure who is behind them.

The department also said it had seized two internet domain names associated with the email addresses used to create the accounts.

David Ingram

David Ingram covers tech for NBC News.


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JBB
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JBB    3 days ago

First to diss the source or story is a Russian bot!

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
2  seeder  JBB    3 days ago

original

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Senior Expert
2.1  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  JBB @2    3 days ago

No way, bots don’t recycle memes endlessly.

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
2.1.1  seeder  JBB  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @2.1    3 days ago

That is Russian Department of Defense would say, I presume...

 
 
 
George
Junior Expert
3  George    3 days ago

So russia does pro-russia propaganda in other countries, i'm shocked! absolutely shocked! How Air America shocking!

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
3.1  seeder  JBB  replied to  George @3    3 days ago

Russia produces pro-Trump propaganda for American social media!

And, the MAGAS believe it and share it like it is an undeniable gospel.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Participates
3.1.1  Greg Jones  replied to  JBB @3.1    3 days ago

"X identified and suspended a "significant number" of the bot accounts before the Justice Department acted, and it has since voluntarily removed the rest, the department said. It said it commended X for its cooperation."

"In a filing in federal court in Arizona, Justice Department prosecutors published a list of 968 pro-Russia fake accounts on X that they said were covertly created from June 2022, when X was still a publicly traded company known as Twitter, to this March."

Sorry to pop your soap bubble, but absolutely, positively no reference or connection to Trump.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
3.1.2  Vic Eldred  replied to  JBB @3.1    3 days ago
Russia produces pro-Trump propaganda for American social media!

An example of which would be?

 
 

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