The Morning After: US officials help take down AI-powered Russian bot farm with nearly 1,000 fake X accounts

The Morning After: US officials help take down AI-powered Russian bot farm with nearly 1,000 fake X accounts
By: Engadget Posted On: July 10, 2024 View: 11

US officials and their allies have identified and taken down an artificial intelligence-powered Russian bot farm comprising almost 1,000 accounts. These accounts were able to spread disinformation and pro-Russian sentiments across X, formerly Twitter. The Justice Department has revealed the scheme was made possible by software created by a digital media department in RT, a Russian state-controlled media outlet.

According to a cybersecurity advisory from the FBI, intelligence officers from the Netherlands, and cybersecurity authorities from Canada, it centered on a tool called Meliorator, which can create “authentic appearing social media personas en masse,” generate text messages as well as images and mirror disinformation from other bot personas. For example, one account with the name Ricardo Abbott, which claimed to be from Minneapolis, posted a video of Russian President Vladimir Putin justifying Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

The Justice Department is still tracing and trying to find all 968 accounts used by the Russian actors to disseminate false information. X has shared information with authorities on all the identified accounts and has already suspended them.

— Mat Smith

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