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Facebook, Twitter remove disinformation accounts targeting Ukrainians

Facebook and Twitter removed two anti-Ukrainian “covert influence operations” over the weekend, one tied to Russia and another with connections to Belarus, the companies said.

One of the operations, a propaganda campaign featuring a website pushing anti-Ukraine talking points, was an offshoot of a known Russian disinformation operation. A Facebook spokesperson said it used computer-generated faces to bolster the credibility of fake columnists across several platforms, including Instagram.

The other campaign used hacked accounts to push similar anti-Ukraine propaganda and was tied to a known Belarusian hacking group.

Disinformation experts warned that Russia is expected to continue to try to manipulate narratives about Ukraine — most notably around the claims made by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The networks that were removed by Facebook and Twitter pushed narratives that Putin himself mentioned in his speech announcing a military operation, which has since turned into a large-scale invasion.

The announcement also demonstrates that Russia continues to use disinformation strategies first identified years ago around the 2016 election, albeit with some advancements — most notably the use of software that can create realistic and original human faces.

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