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The Justice Department has announced the disruption of a Russian influence campaign that utilized fake social media accounts and artificial intelligence to spread pro-Kremlin messages domestically and internationally.

In an announcement, the Justice Department confirmed they received court orders to seize two domain names and investigate 968 social media accounts. These accounts were created by a former editor at the Russian state-controlled news outlet RT to spread disinformation using fake online personas. The accounts were primarily based on the social media platform X and have since been banned. They would frequently post pro-Kremlin content, including videos of Russian President Vladimir Putin while criticizing the Ukrainian government.

Ricardo Abbott Bot Farm Picture 2

According to the Justice Department, “In early 2023, with the approval and financial support of the Presidential Administration of Russia (aka the Kremlin), a Russian FSB officer (FSB Officer 1) created and led a private intelligence organization (PIO). The PIO’s membership was comprised of, among others, employees at RT, including Individual A. The true purpose of the PIO was to advance the mission of the FSB and the Russian government, including by spreading disinformation through the social media accounts created by the bot farm.”

This case marks the first public accusation by the US against a foreign government for employing generative AI in a foreign influence operation. Officials from the Justice Department and FBI have expressed concerns about the potential of AI systems to amplify misinformation efforts by adversaries.

Attorney General Merrick Garland commented on the news, saying, “With these actions, the Justice Department has disrupted a Russian-government backed, AI-enabled propaganda campaign to use a bot farm to spread disinformation in the United States and abroad. As the Russian government continues to wage its brutal war in Ukraine and threatens democracies around the world, the Justice Department will continue to deploy all of our legal authorities to counter Russian aggression and protect the American people.”

The Russian embassy in Washington and RT have not commented on this news.


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