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Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has taken down several accounts from Facebook and Instagram for spreading misinformation. According to sources, these accounts were involved in impersonating to be popular news websites across Europe.
The social media campaign mainly targeted users in European countries like Germany, France, Italy, Ukraine, and the UK, with content based on the Western sanctions on Russia. These fake websites tried to spread hate toward Ukraine and criticize Ukrainian refugees and their efforts.
Several of these websites began operating from May of this year and were centered around impersonating legitimate websites in Europe with an intent to post articles about Ukraine in a negative light and stated that the “Western sanctions on Russia would backfire.”
Russian-origin campaign spreading misinformation
As per sources, several social media pages, on popular platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, were promoting links, videos, and memes against Ukraine. The articles were also pushed out using petitions on websites like Change.org and Avaaz. The impersonators also used other social media platforms in their campaigns, including Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, Twitter, and LiveJournal.
Meta has already started its operation to take down the social media accounts of the imposters. The campaign is believed to be run by Russian-origin operators and targets citizens in the Ukrainian regions. According to the social media giant, the campaign used over 1,633 accounts, 703 pages, one group, and 29 accounts on Instagram.
Moreover, these groups used heavy advertisements with a budget of around $105,000 to run agenda-based ads on Facebook and Instagram. The threat group was also involved in Chinese networks where it has influenced the “US domestic politics,” including gun control and abortion, ahead of the midterms.
The social media giant is working towards taking down the campaigns. However, it seems that the threat actors are increasing every day — as one goes down, another comes up with a different name but with the same agenda.