Facebook parent company Meta accuses Belarus of spreading disinformation about the war in Ukraine, including fake messages alleging that Ukrainian soldiers had surrendered.
According to Meta, the activity is linked to the Belarusian State Security Committee, also known as the KGB. The intelligence service is said to have posted in English and Polish “about Ukrainian troops who surrender without a fight and that the country’s leaders flee the country on February 24.”
“Previously, this particular threat actor focused mainly on accusing Poland of mistreating migrants from the Middle East,” Meta added. “On March 14, they returned to Poland and organized an event in Warsaw calling for protests against the Polish government. We disabled the account and the event that same day.”
The company made the claim in an Adversarial Threat Report on Thursday, documenting the disinformation and hacking campaigns Meta has encountered on Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms.
In the report, Meta also mentions a hacking group called Ghostwriter, which security researchers suspect has ties to the Belarusian government. According to the company, Ghostwriter has been busy hijacking social media accounts of dozens of members of the Ukrainian military.
“As we’ve shared before, Ghostwriter typically targets people through email compromise and then uses that to access their social media accounts on the web,” the report said. “In a handful of cases, they posted videos calling on the military to surrender as if these messages were from the legitimate account owners. We’ve blocked the sharing of these videos.”
Meta also stopped a group in Russia to trick the company into closing certain Facebook accounts in order to silence them. This included filing hundreds or even thousands of complaints against the targets through Facebook’s own abuse reporting tools.
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“We have removed a network of about 200 accounts managed from Russia. The individuals behind it coordinated to falsely report people for various violations, including hate speech, bullying and inauthenticity, in an effort to get them and their posts removed from Facebook,” it said.
In response to the malicious activity, Meta is urging users in Ukraine and Russia to strengthen the security of their online accounts. This includes using a strong unique password and enabling two-factor authentication.
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