Meta says it’s eliminated countless fake Facebook accounts controlled by state actors from Russia and Belarus. The trolls have been spreading disinformation and hacking into Ukrainian military accounts.
This is, of course, a good thing. But I wonder how many trolls are slipping through the net? If you’ve ever tried and failed to report bad actors on Facebook, you probably agree that Meta is really, really, laughably bad at removing “inauthentic behavior.”
It’s not like any of this is new. In today’s SB Blogwatch, we rise above it.
Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: Pink Floyd and Andriy Khlyvnyuk.
What’s the craic? Elizabeth Culliford reports—“Meta says it is considering steps to curb Russian government misinformation”:
“Coordinated in a cooking-themed Facebook Group”
Facebook … has removed hacking campaigns, influence networks and scam operations amid the war in Ukraine [says] the social media company, which also said it was reviewing additional steps. … In its first quarterly adversarial threat report, Meta said government-linked actors from Russia and Belarus had engaged in cyber espionage and covert online influence operations, including an influence operation linked to the Belarusian KGB.
It said there had been other continued attempts from networks it had previously disrupted, including further efforts by the threat actor Ghostwriter to hack the Facebook accounts of dozens of Ukraine military members. [And that it] removed a network of about 200 accounts operated from Russia that coordinated to falsely report people, mostly in Ukraine and Russia, for violations like hate speech or bullying. The mass reporting was primarily coordinated in a cooking-themed Facebook Group.
Wait. Did you say … ‘Ghostwriter’? As in: Negative, Ghostwriter—the pattern is full? Jon Brodkin spills coffee down his khaki—“Ukraine military accounts were hacked to post calls for surrender”:
“Ghostwriter continued its operations”
The Ghostwriter name was first used by security firm Mandiant to describe an influence campaign that “promotes narratives critical of the … NATO presence in Eastern Europe.” Mandiant says the Ghostwriter campaign is conducted at least partly by “UNC1151, a suspected state-sponsored cyber espionage actor … with high confidence … linked to the Belarusian government.”
In its February 27 update, Meta said it detected Ghostwriter’s “attempts to target people on Facebook to post YouTube videos portraying Ukrainian troops as weak and surrendering to Russia.” … But Ghostwriter continued its operations and hacked into accounts of Ukrainian military personnel: [The] Q1 2022 Adversarial Threat Report said it has “seen a further spike in compromise attempts aimed at members of the Ukrainian military by Ghostwriter,” a hacking campaign that “typically targets people through email compromise and then uses that to gain access to their social media accounts across the Internet.”
Great balls of fire! Now Naomi Nix nibbles the news—“Facebook cracks down”:
Facebook … said it has been fighting efforts by Russian authorities to promote propaganda about the war, including false claims about Ukrainian military aggression in the region or blaming Western nations’ complicity. … The company said it gave fact-checkers in the region more resources and launched a special operations center with Russian and Ukrainian speakers to monitor war-related issues.
Russian diplomats and state-backed media have been flooding Twitter with misinformation about Bucha … where world leaders have accused Russia of committing war crimes. Between Sunday and Wednesday, Russian propagandists have tweeted about Bucha at least 1,049 times.
Horse’s mouth? Ben Nimmo, David Agranovich and Nathaniel Gleicher—“Adversarial Threat Report”:
“Keep your online accounts safe”
Ghostwriter … posted videos calling on the Army to surrender as if these posts were coming from the legitimate account owners. … We detected and disrupted recidivist [coordinated inauthentic behavior] activity linked to the Belarusian KGB who suddenly began posting in Polish and English about Ukrainian troops surrendering without a fight and the nation’s leaders fleeing the country.
We removed a network of about 200 accounts operated from Russia … for violating our Inauthentic Behavior policy against mass reporting. The network coordinated to falsely report people … in an attempt to have them and their posts removed from Facebook. … The people behind this activity relied on fake, authentic, and duplicate accounts to submit hundreds — in some cases, thousands — of complaints against their targets through our abuse reporting tools.
We strongly encourage people in Ukraine and Russia to strengthen the security of their online accounts, including email and social media. To help keep your online accounts safe: … Download a VPN app, … enable two-factor authentication [and] do not reuse your password.
It’s about time Facebook got serious about Russian trolls. So says Sweet Marjoram:
I’m happy they’re doing this now for Ukraine. But let’s also remember what they didn’t do for the last two Presidential elections.
What are these trolls trying to achieve? Eunomion explains:
Russian trolling is designed to be toxic, not persuasive. It’s meant to undermine faith in humanity and in life. They target … people who’ve recently suffered any kind of setback in the hopes that they can increase the damage to their families.
Tolkien based Mordor on Stalin’s Russia. Stalin is gone, but the cesspool remains.
But calls to surrender? That makes no sense, thinks phantomfive:
No one surrenders in a war they are winning.
We’re drifting way off topic, but it’s still topical, if you see what I mean—Atterus wants to believe:
“Incompetent and ineffective military”
The scary Red Army that the world feared turned out to be one of the greatest lies in history. Underequipped, undertrained, outgunned and out-teched. … The blowhard in Chechnya and the Wagner goons proved equally incapable.
If I were NATO, I would be very strongly investigating if Russia has any real nuclear capability anymore. … The fake next-gen weapons shown to Putin are as much for show as the dumb Moon Centaur they were peddling years ago. It isn’t real—never was—but tell Putin something that makes him cranky and you get a chemical warfare agent on your doorknob.
When your military command is selected based on how yes-man you can be, you have an incompetent and ineffective military. … Russia routinely violated … mass troop movement 101, such as turning your back on a angry, well armed, well trained undefeated force to engage a equally angry, well armed, well trained force that was behind you.
Meanwhile, FairfaxVA100 suggests a solution:
I’ve got a better idea: Redirect the Russians to Truth Social. They will never be heard or seen again.
Red Viburnum vs. Floyd
Previously in And Finally
You have been reading SB Blogwatch by Richi Jennings. Richi curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites … so you don’t have to. Hate mail may be directed to @RiCHi or [email protected]. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE. 30.
Image sauce: Yosan Leon