A Russian 'troll factory' with links to a pro-Trump oligarch is spreading misinformation on TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook, UK government says

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A Russian 'troll factory' with links to a pro-Trump oligarch is spreading misinformation on TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook, UK government says
Yevgeniy Prigozhin (left), who founded the pro-Trump Internet Research Agency, is alleged to be linked to a Russian disinformation campaign.AP
  • Russians are spreading disinformation through a 'troll factory' in St. Petersburg, a UK report says.
  • Russians are recruited through Telegram to spread Pro-Putin, pro-war content, per the report.
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Russians are increasingly using TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and other platforms to spread disinformation from a "troll factory," according to a report published on Sunday by the UK government.

Officials alleged that the operation had links to sanctioned Russian oligarch Yevgeniy Prigozhin, founder of the Internet Research Agency (IRA). US intelligence officials determined that the IRA made a concerted effort to put Trump into the White House in the 2016 presidential elections.

The report commissioned by the UK's Foreign Office said Russia was engaged in a large-scale disinformation campaign "designed to manipulate international public opinion of Russia's illegitimate war in Ukraine."

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The Foreign Office declined to offer further comment to Insider.

It said the group of "cyber soldiers" was operating from an old factory in St. Petersburg, Russia, where they were using the Telegram social-media platform to actively recruit and coordinate new supporters to spam platforms with pro-Putin and pro-invasion comments and content.

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According to the UK government, the groups operated by turning on VPNs and spamming the comment sections of several platforms including YouTube and Instagram. This made it harder to be detected than if they were posting original content, the report said.

Targets reportedly included high-profile Kremlin critics, UK government officials, and other world leaders.

TikTok, Facebook, YouTube, and Telegram did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment made outside of normal working hours.

A spokesperson for Twitter told Insider it had removed 100,000 accounts from the platform since the war in Ukraine began for violations of its manipulation and spam policy, as well as 50,000 pieces of content.

"We cannot allow the Kremlin and its shady troll farms to invade our online spaces with their lies about Putin's illegal war," the UK's foreign secretary Liz Truss said in a statement included with the report.

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She added: "The UK government has alerted international partners and will continue to work closely with allies and media platforms to undermine Russian information operations."

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