Online trolls from Russia were caught spreading disinformation across more than 300 online platforms, The Daily Beast reported Tuesday.
“The Russian troll factory that meddled in the 2016 election isn’t the only unit in Moscow’s troll army. Since 2014, a different and more shadowy disinformation crew linked to the Russian government has been spreading forgeries and disinformation across social media. In a report released Tuesday, the social media tracking firm Graphika has uncovered the online trail of Secondary Infektion stretching across half a dozen years, two continents, and thousands of fake articles,” The Beast reported.
They interviewed Ben Nimmo, Graphika’s director of investigations.
“When we made the investigative breakthrough in January, we knew we might be on the verge of something major, but we never expected to find over 2,500 pieces of content across more than 300 platforms,” Nimmos said. “I’ve seen some cross-platform operations in my career, but nothing even close to this.”
Graphika found the disinformation translated into seven languages.
“Facebook gave the world the first hint about the existence of Secondary Infektion in May 2019 when it announced the takedown of a handful of accounts engaged in coordinated inauthentic activity. The company’s attribution of the accounts to Russia raised eyebrows and Nimmo, then at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, authored the first report delving into the group and giving the operation its name (a nod to the KGB’s attempt to paint HIV/AIDS as a U.S.-made bioweapon),” The Beast reported.
“Secondary Infektion appears to be a different, if parallel, line of effort alongside its more well-known Moscow-backed disinformation cousin, the Internet Research Agency (IRA). The IRA, which is run by Russian catering magnate and Putin crony Yevgeny Prigozhin, became famous for its role in social media meddling during the 2016 presidential election,” The Beast explained. “It’s less clear who within the Russian government is behind Secondary Infektion, but it sometimes crossed paths with the IRA. During the 2016 presidential campaign, both the IRA and Secondary Infektion worked to damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign.”
Read the full report.