Russia Remains Main Driver of Social Media Disinformation, Facebook Report Says | Politics


Russia remains the biggest producer of social media disinformation, with the country the source of the most fake and misleading Facebook accounts, according to a new report.

A facebook report published Wednesday revealed that the social media giant has uncovered disinformation campaigns in more than 50 countries since 2017 and that Russia is the main source of “coordinated inauthentic behavior”, with 27 of the fake networks identified.

Coordinated inauthentic behavior is “any coordinated network of accounts, pages and groups that centrally relies on fake accounts to mislead Facebook and the people using our services about who is behind and what they are doing,” according to Facebook.

Behind Russia, Iran is the second source of this type of networks, with 23. It is followed by Myanmar and the United States with nine and Ukraine with eight networks.

The policy against coordinated inauthentic behavior instituted on Facebook was developed in response to foreign interference by Russian actors in the 2016 US presidential election. Since then, Facebook said, the company has investigated and disrupted operations in the whole world.

According to the report, of the 150 networks Facebook has dismantled since 2017, 45% targeted domestic audiences, and 38% targeted countries abroad. Among the countries most frequently targeted by foreign disinformation networks, the United States was the first target, followed by Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

The report details several Russian disinformation networks that Facebook dismantled, including one run by Russian military intelligence that focused on Ukraine and neighboring countries and a network linked to the Russian Internet Research Agency that claimed to manage thousands of fake accounts with the ability to influence. the results of the 2018 U.S. midterm election.

In either case, the Facebook report said the disinformation had no significant success and that the allegations of a larger operation were false.

In the year leading up to the 2020 US presidential election, the report states that Facebook uncovered more than a dozen coordinated operations of inauthentic behavior targeting Americans. The three main sources of these networks were Russia, Iran and the United States itself. Facebook has removed five disinformation networks in each country.

In response to Facebook’s increased efforts to shut down disinformation networks, the more sophisticated players, including from Russia and China, have improved their operational security and “are more disciplined to avoid reckless mistakes” and are doing so. take.

Cartoons about the 2020 election

“In the future, we anticipate that these tactics will continue to evolve in response to law enforcement.

measures through technology platforms, “the report says.” It will always be essential that political and public figures, our colleagues in the [influence operations] the research community and journalists remain vigilant against attempts to scale up malicious manipulation campaigns. “

Facebook has assembled a team “focused on finding and disrupting sophisticated influence operations, and then using the information from those investigations to improve our automated detection and enforcement at scale.”

The team behind the effort has grown to over 200 people and includes experts in open source research, cybersecurity, threat investigations, law enforcement, national security, investigative journalism, engineering, data science and studies. academics on disinformation.

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