Highlights

  • Russian network publishing fake news, misinformation on Ukraine, says Meta
  • Over 40 accounts, pages, and groups taken down
  • Russian hacking group targets prominent Ukrainians

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Meta took down Russian Facebook misinformation and hacking network targeting Ukraine

Meta took down a Russian misinformation network on Facebook, which targeted prominent Ukrainian citizens

Facebook’s parent company Meta said that it has taken down a coordinated Russian network that was targeting Ukrainian citizens across Facebook and Instagram. The network was reportedly linked with a similar operation that was earlier banned by Facebook in April 2020.

Meta also said it took down a coordinated hacking group, attempting to compromise accounts operating in Ukraine.

"We took this operation down, we've blocked their domains from being shared on our platform, and we've shared information about the operations with other tech platforms with researchers and with governments," David Agranovich, director of threat disruption for Meta, told reporters.

Russian hacking network targets Ukraine citizens

According to Agranovich, the coordinated campaign used fake accounts to target high-profile Ukrainian journalists, military officers, and public figures. They would publish claims about Ukraine being a failed state, and the West having betrayed Ukraine.

The network was described by Meta as consisting of around 40 accounts, pages, and groups on Facebook. Meta's head of security policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, also said that some prominent Ukrainian citizens were targeted by a hacking group known as Ghostwriter.

Also Read: Ukraine-Russia war: How tech companies are reacting to the crisis

Meta encourages Ukrainians to secure accounts

Meta has encouraged users in Ukraine and Russia to take extra measures with online security, and to protect all their devices and accounts. Facebook has rolled out a one-click ‘Lock Your Profile’ feature for users in Ukraine, and expects to roll it out for Russian users soon.

Meta has also blocked monetisation and ads from Russian state media entities. In retaliation, Russian authorities have ordered Meta to stop fact-checking posts by state media organisations. When Meta refused, Russia has said that it will be restricting the use of Facebook services.

Facebook and Instagram are being widely used by anti-war protesters in Russia to coordinate and organise their efforts.

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