US disrupts Russian government-backed disinformation marketing campaign that relied on AI know-how

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Russian propaganda marketing campaign backed by the Kremlin that unfold on-line disinformation in the USA and was boosted by synthetic intelligence has been disrupted, the Justice Division mentioned Tuesday.

U.S. officers described the web operation as a part of an ongoing effort to sow discord within the U.S. by the creation of fictitious social media profiles that purport to belong to genuine Individuals however are literally designed to advance the goals of the Russian authorities, together with by spreading disinformation about its warfare with Ukraine.

U.S. officers mentioned the scheme was organized in 2022 after a senior editor at RT, a Russian-state-funded media group that has registered with the Justice Division as a international agent, helped develop know-how for a so-called social media bot farm. It acquired the assist and monetary approval of the Kremlin, with an officer of Russia’s Federal Safety Service — or FSB — main a non-public intelligence group that promoted disinformation on social media by a community of faux accounts.

The RT press workplace didn’t reply on to a query in regards to the allegations.

The disruption of the bot farm comes as U.S. officers have raised alarms in regards to the potential for AI know-how to influence this yr’s elections and amid ongoing issues that international affect campaigns by adversaries might sway the opinions of unsuspecting voters, as occurred through the 2016 presidential marketing campaign when Russians launched an enormous however hidden social media trolling marketing campaign aimed partly at serving to Republican Donald Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

“At the moment’s actions signify a primary in disrupting a Russian-sponsored Generative AI-enhanced social media bot farm,” FBI Director Christopher Wray mentioned in an announcement. “Russia supposed to make use of this bot farm to disseminate AI-generated international disinformation, scaling their work with the help of AI to undermine our companions in Ukraine and affect geopolitical narratives favorable to the Russian authorities.”

Among the many faux posts, in line with the Justice Division, was a video that was posted by a purported Minneapolis, Minnesota resident that confirmed Russian President Vladimir Putin saying that areas of Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania had been “items” to these international locations from liberating Russian forces throughout World Battle II.

In one other occasion, the Justice Division mentioned, somebody posing as a U.S. constituent responded to a federal candidate’s social media posts in regards to the warfare in Ukraine with a video of Putin justifying Russia’s actions.

As a part of the disruption, the Justice Division seized two domains and searched 968 accounts on X, the social media platform previously generally known as Twitter.

In keeping with a joint cybersecurity advisory launched Tuesday by U.S., Dutch and Canadian authorities, the software program was used to unfold disinformation to international locations together with Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Ukraine and Israel.

The advisory mentioned that as of final June, the software program — generally known as Meliorator — solely labored on X however that its performance most likely might be expanded to different social media networks.

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