The UK Foreign Office(FO) said on Sunday that Russia is using a troll factory to spread misinformation about the Ukrainian war on social media and targeting politicians in several countries, including the United Kingdom and South Africa.
Britain cited an expert study funded by the UK, which it did not publish. It said the research revealed how the Kremlin’s disinformation campaign was designed to manipulate international public opinion of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, stimulate support for it and recruit new supporters.
Russia describes its actions in Ukraine as a “special operation” for disarming Ukraine and protecting it from fascists. Ukraine and the West say that fascist claims are unfounded and that war is an unprovoked act of aggression.
Russia claims that the Western media provided an exceedingly partial account of the war that largely ignores Moscow’s concerns about NATO expansion and what it says is the persecution of Russian-speaking Ukrainians, which is denied by Kiev.
“We cannot let the Kremlin and its sleazy troll farms invade our online spaces with their lies about Putin’s illegal war,” Foreign Minister Liz Truss issued in a statement.
“The UK government has warned its international partners and will continue to work in close collaboration with its allies and media platforms to undermine Russia’s news operations.”
Moscow denied Western countries’ past accusations of misinformation campaigns, such as Washington’s accusation that Russia sought to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Great Britain said research has shown that the troll factory used Telegram to recruit and coordinate new followers who then target the social media profiles of Kremlin critics, Inundating them with comments favourable to President Vladimir Putin and his war.
Their targets included ministers from the United Kingdom and other world leaders, Britain said it had found traces of the operation on eight social media platforms, including Telegram, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok.