US Cracks Down on Alleged Russian AI-Powered ‘Bot Farm’ Spreading Disinformation

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US officials have taken decisive action against an alleged Russian operation using AI to manipulate social media, revealing nearly 1,000 accounts posing as Americans. These accounts, reportedly run from Russia, were part of an effort to promote pro-Russian narratives, particularly regarding the conflict in Ukraine. The operation, detailed in newly released court documents, allegedly involved the use of artificial intelligence to generate and manage accounts designed to amplify propaganda.

The Justice Department seized two websites associated with the operation and compelled a company (referred to as X) to disclose information related to 968 accounts identified as bots. FBI Director Christopher Wray characterized this as a significant disruption of a Russian-backed AI-enhanced social media bot farm, aimed at undermining geopolitical narratives favoring Russia.

The initiative purportedly originated from a deputy editor at RT, a media outlet owned by the Kremlin, known for its international presence on social media. RT’s involvement in the operation underscores the use of advanced technologies to escalate information warfare, leveraging AI to streamline the creation and dissemination of disinformation.

Although the accounts have reportedly been removed, screenshots provided by FBI investigators revealed their limited following. The court documents suggest that the operation was orchestrated to sow discord in the United States through misinformation campaigns.

While no criminal charges have been announced, the investigation remains ongoing. Experts warn that AI is increasingly becoming a tool in the arsenal of disinformation campaigns, allowing for more efficient creation and dissemination of fake news and propaganda.

In a related development, a BBC investigation recently uncovered another instance where AI was used to fuel a Russia-based disinformation network, highlighting a broader trend of technological advancements being exploited for strategic misinformation purposes.

Efforts by non-profit organizations like the American Sunlight Project aim to combat such disinformation, recognizing the evolving landscape where AI plays a pivotal role in shaping public opinion and influencing global narratives.

The BBC reached out to RT and the Russian Foreign Ministry for comment on these allegations, but responses were not immediately provided.

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