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Russia-linked actors use Facebook for cyber espionage - Meta


Facebook's owner Meta says it has taken action to curb attempts to abuse its platform in the light of the war in Ukraine.

Meta has removed hacking campaigns, influence networks, and scam operations related to the war in Ukraine, Meta announced in its recent 'Adversarial Threat Report.'

According to the report, Russia and Belarus engaged in cyber espionage and covert influence operations online. Threat actors were interested in the Ukrainian telecom industry, the country's defense sector, tech platforms, journalists, and activists.

The report claims that threat actor interest intensified shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine at the end of February. After the conflict started, actors linked to the Belarusian KGB began spreading falsehoods about Ukrainian troops surrendering en masse.

A few months before, the same threat actors tried to spread falsehoods about Poland's treatment of migrants from the Middle East.

Interestingly enough, Russian government pages have been spreading a lot of falsehoods recently, putting the social network at odds with the Kremlin.

"We're constantly reviewing our policies based on the evolving situation on the ground, and we are actively now reviewing additional steps to address misinformation and hoaxes coming from Russian government pages," Reuters quoted Meta's president of global affairs, Nick Clegg.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a battle for accurate information has ensued on social media. Moscow banned Facebook and Instagram since users on Meta's platforms were able to call the invasion a 'war.' At the same time, the Kremlin strictly requires the conflict to be called a 'special military operation.'

Meta said in the report it had also 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, which had about 50 members when Meta took it down in March.

The report also indicates a growing number of scammers trying to abuse the conflict for financial gain. Meta claims that it has removed thousands of accounts, pages, and groups for spamming and scamming activities.

Russian forces invaded Ukraine on February 24, kicking off a war all over the country.

According to the United Nations, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has created the 'fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.' Over 10 million people were displaced due to the conflict, with over 4.3 million fleeing the country.


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