Meta neutralizes over 1,000 Russian propaganda Instagram accounts

The tech giant announced in a report that it had deactivated more than 1,000 accounts, created to relay disinformation from the Kremlin. These trolls would be linked to an important Telegram channel supporting Vladimir Putin.

Russian propaganda has only intensified since the start of the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The Meta group announced on August 4 that it had blocked a Russian troll farm which was carrying out a disinformation campaign on Instagram. The group gave details of this operation in its quarterly threat report.

We thus understand that the network was operated by one of the most important Telegram channels supporting Vladimir Putin, Cyber ​​Front Z. This channel gives instructions on harassment, personalities to target and messages to broadcast on social networks to spread Kremlin propaganda. The channel is believed to be linked to the Internet Research Agency of Russia, a quasi-official disinformation institution in the country.

Meta said it began taking action against Cyber ​​Front Z in March, eventually managing to take down the network in early April. The tech giant says the troll farm hired people, who took turns seven days a week, to comment with pro-Russian content on posts supporting Ukraine made by celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman and chefs states such as Emmanuel Macron, Boris Johnson or Andrzej Duda.

On the Telegram Cyber ​​Front Z channel, calls to harass the social media account of Emmanuel Macron or Nancy Pelosi. // Source: Numerama

A “clumsy” and “poorly executed” operation

It is a poorly executed attempt, publicly coordinated via a Telegram channel, to create a perception of online grassroots support for the invasion of Russia by using fake accounts to post pro-Russian comments. “, can we read in the report.

Cyber ​​Front Z reportedly attempted to gain a foothold on Instagram several times, but Meta continued to dismantle the network. A total of 1,037 Instagram accounts have been deactivated. ” This operation was awkward, it was definitely not an A-team job. [les agents habituels des organes russes]. On Instagram, for example, more than half of these fake accounts were detected and deactivated by our automated systems soon after they were created. “says the group. Meta had already blocked 4,500 Facebook accounts last February.

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