SBU fighting off Russian intel attempts to meddle in elections via social networks
The SBU Security Service of Ukraine say they have revealed and shut down a mechanism for Russian intelligence's interference in the electoral processes through social networks.
According to the SBU's press center, the operatives exposed a resident of Kyiv who "under the supervision of the Russian special services administered anti-Ukrainian communities on social networks," as well as "for monetary reward got access to the so-called 'ad offices' tied to accounts of Ukrainian users of Facebook and Twitter," where he was tasked with "manipulating the minds of Ukrainian voters in the interests of the Kremlin."
The SBU discovered over 300 accounts, which during the presidential election campaign in Ukraine were to be used to promote politically-targeted ads. Through them, masterminds planned to influence voters' choice and disseminate fake or manipulative news discredit the Ukrainian government and law enforcement agencies, according to the report.
The Security Service of Ukraine handed over to the Facebook and Twitter management the information about the accounts identified that could be used by Russia as part of their hybrid aggression against Ukraine.
The SBU stressed in 2019, Facebook tightened its security policy regarding the use of political advertising in the Ukrainian segment of the internet.
"Now, to prevent manipulative influence on Ukrainians, Facebook prohibits political advertising from accounts that are administered outside the Ukrainian segment of the internet. Due to the measures taken by the administration, the interest has increased of the aggressor's special services to [managing] personal accounts of Ukrainian citizens on social networks. At the same time, users receive commercial proposals from persons who are actually guided by the Russian 'factory of trolls' – 'Internet Research Agency LLC'," the SBU said.
The Security Service of Ukraine appeals to Ukrainian netizens to remain vigilant and report to the security officials if they receive shady proposals from people they do not know personally on using their accounts in social networks. Responsibility for illegal actions that could be committed with the use of the account will be laid on the actual owner, the agency warns.