U.S. Breaks Up Russian Disinformation 'Bot Farm'

FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement that today's action "is the first to dismantle a social media bot farm enhanced by generative AI technology and sponsored by Russia"

by Sededin Dedovic
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U.S. Breaks Up Russian Disinformation 'Bot Farm'
© Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images

American President Joe Biden welcomed representatives of NATO member states at the summit in Washington last night, with a message that Ukraine will stop Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to Voice of America (VOA), Biden's speech was focused on supporting Ukraine, and was closely followed by allies at home and abroad to see if the American president can still lead.

Using a teleprompter, Biden told world leaders that "NATO is stronger than ever" on its 75th anniversary, highlighting the expansion of the Alliance during his tenure.

U.S.

President Joe Biden delivers remarks during the NATO 75th anniversary© Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images

“It is a pleasure to host you in this pivotal year, to proudly look back on all we have achieved, and to look forward to our shared future with strength and determination.

Today, NATO is stronger than ever,” Biden stated. “This moment in history demands our collective strength,” he said, emphasizing NATO's resolve to help Ukraine defend itself against the Russian invasion. “Vladimir Putin wants nothing less than the complete subjugation of Ukraine and to wipe Ukraine off the map.

Ukraine can and will stop Putin,” Biden said. The American president added that Russia will not win, but Ukraine will. In his 13-minute speech, Biden did not address the domestic political drama surrounding his campaign.

Biden, who is 81 years old, has endured exhausting questions about his fitness for office for 12 days, as some of his fellow Democrats on Capitol Hill and campaign donors fear he will lose the election on November 5 after a debate with Republican Donald Trump held on June 27, VOA writes.

The White House hopes that the speech will be able to turn the tide of speculation among those closely watching and scrutinizing any of Biden's verbal failures or signs of confusion. NATO leaders are gathering this week at the summit in Washington, where the Alliance is marking its 75th anniversary.

unknown© Kevin Dietsch / getty Images

Disrupted Russian Bot Network

The U.S. Department of Justice reported today that it has disrupted a Russian disinformation campaign supported by the Kremlin, using artificial intelligence, and as part of the action "seized" nearly 1,000 fake profiles on the social network X.

Officials in Washington described what happened as part of ongoing efforts to sow discord in the U.S. by creating fictitious profiles on social media that appear to belong to legitimate users but are actually made to support the goals of the Russian government, including spreading disinformation about Moscow's war against Ukraine.

According to U.S. officials, this scheme was organized in 2022 by a senior editor at RT, a Russian state-funded media outlet, who is registered with the U.S. Department of Justice as a foreign agent. The disinformation campaign had the support and financial backing of the Kremlin, and an officer of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) led a private intelligence organization that promoted disinformation through social media.

RT has not yet responded to an email requesting comment on the statement. The disruption of the so-called "bot farm" on social media came at a time when U.S. officials are warning about the potential of AI technology to influence U.S.

elections, i.e., to affect the views of voters who are unaware that foreign agencies are behind it. FBI Director Christopher Wray stated in a statement that today's action is "the first to disrupt a bot farm on social media enhanced by generative AI technology and sponsored by Russia." "Russia intended to use this bot farm to spread AI-generated disinformation, directing its work with the assistance of AI, to undermine our partners in Ukraine and influence geopolitical narratives favorable to the Russian government," Wray wrote.

Among the fake posts online, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, was a video posted by an alleged Minneapolis resident in which Russian President Vladimir Putin supposedly says that parts of Ukraine, Poland, and Lithuania were "gifts" to those countries made by Russian liberating forces during World War II.

U.S. authorities have "seized" two internet domains and 968 profiles on the social network X, formerly known as Twitter. The FBI and the National Cybersecurity Service were assisted in exposing the bot farm by corresponding services from Canada and the Netherlands, it was announced.

Russian Influence on French Elections and Disinformation Regarding the Olympics

The French government cyber security watchdog, Viginum, has published several reports since June 2023, highlighting Russian efforts to sow divisions in France and elsewhere.

This was around the time when pro-Kremlin Telegram feeds began promoting "The Olympics Have Fallen" – a fake Netflix film with an AI-generated voice resembling Tom Cruise, criticizing the International Olympic Committee, according to Microsoft's threat analysis center.

Baptiste Robert, a French cyber security expert who unsuccessfully ran as a centrist in the parliamentary elections, called on his government - and especially lawmakers - to prepare for upcoming digital threats, reports VOA.

"This is a global policy of Russia: they really want to push people to extremes," he said before the first-round vote. "Right now, it's working perfectly."

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