Since the launch of Ukraine's invasion, Russia has stepped up its media filtering campaign. The last independent Russian news outlets were shut down, along with most international ones. The Russian government did not stop there, partially banning Facebook and Instagram. Russia did not stop there, deploying many new tactics to deceive people around the world using false information.
Russia's media crackdown
Russia has been taking control over media for the better part of two decades now. Since then, Russians have been brainwashed into a carefully drafter narrative supporting Putin's regime. Despite that, Russia has become stricter than ever, trying to control all the information flowing into the country. This resulted in many websites including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram getting banned. The Russian internet is now looking increasingly similar to the Chinese firewall. The only remaining ticket to internet freedom are VPNs, which are still partially banned.
Attacks against Russia
As soon as the invasion of Ukraine, and intense media cleansing began, anonymous made an announcement. The group revealed that it is starting a cyber-warfare against Russia. Shortly after this announcement, Russian government websites, and news agencies were taken offline. The Russian military also got compromised. Personal information of over 120,000 Russian soldiers was compromised. It is said that all of them are involved in the Ukrainian invasion.
Shortly after the silencing of all free media, Russia started a small "cyber-warfare" of its own. This one with the aim of spreading misinformation about the invasion. Russian agencies used hundreds of fake accounts to mass report users posting anti-Russian content. Thousands more were used to publish fake videos and images of Ukrainians surrendering. According to meta, hundreds such accounts belonging to Russian authorities have been blocked.
The latest act against Facebook does not just involve Russia. Belarusian hackers worked with Russians to hack into many Facebook accounts. Those accounts belonged to different Ukrainian military officials. These accounts were then used to post Russian propaganda, most of which got quickly removed. Meta also claims that Russian authorities are now spreading their propaganda different languages.
Russia has always been known for carefully drafter narratives and strict media control. Despite that, the recent step up in media filtering came as a surprise to most. Russia's rapid spread of disinformation also manages to create doubt in thousands of minds. Fears are also increasing that Russia might be pulling the plug from the global internet in the future.