The Kremlin has is using a “troll factory” to “plague” social media with pro-war propaganda, the foreign office has claimed after new research.
A UK-funded study claimed the Kremlin has acquired “cyber soldiers” to target UK politicians and spread “lies” on social media, about the war in Ukraine.
According to a statement from the foreign office, research outlined a “large-scale disinformation campaign” which intends to “manipulate international public opinion” about Moscow’s brutal war on Kyiv.
This comes after the UK banned numerous Kremlin-linked media outlets, including RT and Sputnik, while social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter were banned in Russia, because of the Kremlin’s actions in Ukraine.
“We cannot allow the Kremlin and its shady troll farms to invade our online spaces with their lies about Putin’s illegal war”, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said.
She said the UK would work with the rallies “to undermine Russian information operations.”
The study says the operation is being run from a factor in St Petersburg and includes paid workers – posting on Telegram in particular – to recruit new supporters.
The campaign also targets critics of the Kremlin, senior UK ministers’ social media accounts, and other world leaders.
It also has suspected links to the founder of notorious bot-farm the Internet Research Agency, Yevgeniy Prigozhin, both of which have been sanctioned.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries called the campaign “insidious attempts by Putin and his propaganda machine to deceive the world about the brutality he’s inflicting on the people of Ukraine.
“This evidence will help us to more effectively identify and remove Russian disinformation and follows our decisive action to block anyone from doing business with Kremlin-controlled outlets RT and Sputnik.”
The UK has also formed a Government Information Cell (GIC) to fight Russian misinformation.