Meta has released a quarterly report outlining the actions it has taken against troll farms, fake accounts, and hackers.
Why it matters
The social media giant has come under scrutiny in the past for not doing enough about disinformation. The report provides more details on how cybersecurity threats are being combated.
Facebook parent Meta said Thursday it had deleted fake accounts from a group of Russian internet trolls trying to give the appearance of support for Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The troll farm created accounts on both Meta’s own Facebook and Instagram and posted pro-Russian comments on media and influencer content. Meta pulls down 1,037 Instagram accounts and 45 Facebook accounts from this group. The company linked the accounts to a group called “Cyber Front Z” and people connected to activities from thea notorious Russian troll farm that also attempted the .
Meta’s actions show how the company continues to fight cybersecurity threats. Lawmakers and advocacy groups have in the past criticized the social media giant for not acting quickly enough to combat political disinformation. Meta shared details about its investigation into a 36-page quarterly report It also described how to fight hackers and other threats.
Ben Nimmo, Meta’s global threat intelligence lead for influence operations, said in a call with reporters that Meta was intercepting accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency faster than in the past, ripping down the fake accounts in weeks instead of years. The company began taking action against these fake accounts in March, and Instagram’s automated technology has caught more than half of the accounts, the report said.
The troll farm used the messaging app Telegram to coordinate their efforts and target other platforms including TikTok, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. In a May Telegram post, the trolls urged their followers to post pro-Russian comments on Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Twitter and Instagram accounts, such as “We must explain to the Finnish politician that Ukraine will be rid of Nazism by Russians.” Army.” Meta began looking into its platforms after Russia’s Fontanka news agency reported on the issue.
The troll farm tried to give the false impression that their efforts were successful, but they didn’t do a good job, Meta said.
“We have seen no evidence that they have managed to garner significant authentic support, but we expect they will continue to try and we are here to continue to block attempts,” said Nimmo.
Meta also said it targeted two South Asian hacking groups. One of the groups, known as Bitter APT, targeted people in New Zealand, India, Pakistan and the United Kingdom. Attempts have been made to trick people into providing personal information or downloading malware.
For example, a chat app was created that Apple users could download through a service that developers use to test new apps.
“We have no insight into whether this app contained malicious code and believe it may have been used for further social engineering on an attacker-controlled chat medium,” the report said. Social engineering is a manipulation tactic used by hackers to trick people into revealing sensitive information such as passwords. Meta said it reported the results to Apple but had no “insight” into the company’s actions. The hacking group also used an Android malware in unofficial versions of YouTube, Signal, Telegram, WhatsApp and other chat apps.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“Our goal is to uncover these threat actors and contain their operations, regardless of where they’re going,” said Nathaniel Gleicher, head of security policy at Meta. “But a societal response is essential to address these cross-platform threats.”
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