Facebook, Twitter, FBI catch Russia using news site to influence voters

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Sources linked at end of page.

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Following a tip from the FBI, Facebook shuts down 13 accounts and two pages used by an online news website connected to the Russian Internet Research Agency.

The agency used similar methods to push far-right, pro-Trump propaganda beginning in December 2015. In August, the FBI warned that Russia is actively engaged in an online disinformation campaign in the U.S.

The website, PeaceData.net, is targeting left-wing voters in the United States and the United Kingdom. Both Facebook and Twitter found fake identities tied to Russian actors posing as real people. The profiles and pages were using their platforms, along with the website, for propaganda and disinformation.

Facebook reports that all of the accounts were created in May.

Facebook said its investigation “found links to individuals associated with past activity by the Russian Internet Research Agency”, a St Petersburg-based company which U.S. intelligence officials say was central to Russian efforts to sway the 2016 presidential election.

Twitter said it had also suspended five accounts as part of the operation which it could “reliably attribute to Russian state actors.”

Reuters

Peace Data hires freelance journalists in the U.S. and U.K. to write for the website. The journalists are paid $75 to $200 per article and instructed not to write negatively about Donald Trump or positively about Joe Biden. Facebook’s head of security says the tactic is common from other Internet Research Agency news sites that were found operating in Ghana, Nigeria, and Ukraine.

A Peace Data freelance writer speaking to the New York Times says his editors claim to be Romanian. The Russian GRU agents posing as Guccifer 2.0 in 2016 made the same claim.

While it has not come up in the original reporting, Trump File can verify that the domain name was not used as a news website until December 2019. The oldest article on the site is dated Dec. 17, 2019.

Trump File can also verify that the domain was parked on Russian servers (Save01.ru) for at least a year from October 2010 through October 2011 before it was transferred to servers in the Virgin Islands (KLCZY). Following the 2016 election, it was moved to GoDaddy (DomainControl).

The website attributed to the servers, Save01.ru, does not appear to have ever existed as a public domain host. However, a similar domain name, Save1.ru, links to an online legal blog based in Moscow that, according to reviews, is actually an operation to scam people for money.

http://save1.ru – a fraudulent service guarantor site Usually the scheme is as follows: scammers sell you something using a guarantor (for example, air miles). they create a deal on this site and you transfer money to your account. after that, you can forget about the money and of course you will not receive the service / product either, since the site itself belongs to scammers.

MigReview.com, translated to English

Sources

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-facebook-russia-idUSKBN25S5UI

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/02/technology/peacedata-writer-russian-misinformation.html

https://pl.ipee.at/klczy.com

https://migreview.com/?s=save1.ru

Photo: Pixabay

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