An IRA-linked group has been caught spreading fake news across Facebook and Twitter.
Facebook and Twitter have become victims of a misinformation campaign spread by a Russian troll group that’s associated with the Internet Research Agency (IRA). Both Twitter and Facebook have since removed any content posted by the group.
Russian Trolls Spread Fake News
As you may recall, the IRA was accused of launching a misinformation campaign during the 2016 US presidential election. The troll farm has allegedly returned once again, and allegedly set out to spread fake news across Twitter and Facebook.
On Facebook’s Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior (CIB) Report, the social network revealed that it removed various accounts that abused the platform, including a small network associated with the IRA. Facebook acted on this threat after receiving a tip from the FBI.
The troll group ran a seemingly legitimate non-profit news site called PeaceData. According to Facebook, the troll group “tricked unwitting freelance journalists into writing stories on its behalf.”
Although Facebook noted that the misinformation campaign gained very little traction, the site still took the initiative to remove the fake accounts and Pages linked to the IRA. On the same CIB Report, Facebook said it’s prepared to tackle similar issues in the future, stating:
We expect to see more attempts like this from threat actors globally and we’ll remain vigilant and work with other technology companies, law enforcement, and independent researchers to find and remove influence operations.
Twitter also found five accounts that were linked to the same IRA group. Just like the campaign on Facebook, the network touted content from the phony PeaceData site.
The accounts purported to be associated with a website called PeaceData, which publishes a range of content about global political issues. At least some of the content published on the website was created by real people who appear to have contributed to PeaceData as freelancers.
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) September 1, 2020
Twitter noted that the IRA-linked accounts made little impact on the site, as their Tweets were “low quality and spammy.”
Will Social Media Ever Fully Eliminate Misinformation?
Social media platforms are constantly fighting against misinformation. Thankfully, Facebook and Twitter caught the malicious actors before they could pose a serious threat. That said, this misinformation campaign should serve as a reminder to keep an eye out for fake news on the web.
Want to get away from fake news? You can use these smart apps to get fact-checked and neutral news instead.
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