April 30, 2024, 15:20

Russian disinformation campaigns targeting Ukraine via Facebook ads: 12 key topics have been pinpointed by researchers

Facebook ads constitute a component of Russia’s information warfare against Ukraine. Analyzing 596 ads from 369 profiles over nine months, starting from March to November 2023, revealed 12 key topics actively employed by Russians to spread misinformation. 

The findings were unveiled at a discussion session held at the Media Center Ukraine – Ukrinform focusing on the impact of Russian disinformation via Facebook ads. 

The 12 key topics identified as part of the enemy’s disinformation campaign include poverty, financial transactions, governmental affairs, demographic trends, morale undermining, energy dynamics, Western relations, weaponry, corruption allegations, mobilization efforts, military support, and frontline activities.

Serhii Zhukov, an analyst at the Centre for Strategic Communication and Information Security, highlighted that the most frequently utilized topics included the situation at the frontline, an anti-Western false narrative aimed at discrediting Ukraine’s Western allies, mobilization efforts, corruption allegations, governmental affairs, and the broader theme of demoralization.

“Considering these topics, we discern the objectives pursued by the creators of this content. Primarily, it’s about demoralizing our citizens, urging them towards passivity in defending Ukraine—meaning refraining from joining army ranks, donating to military needs, trusting authorities, and distancing themselves from the realities of our nation, which include a full-blown war and the imperative to contribute in some capacity. Additionally, it’s aimed at inciting various divisions within society—be they man-made conflicts to blame or not quite so—fostering internal conflicts along civilian-military, government-citizen, and inter-group lines among citizens of different categories and demographics,” elaborated Serhii Zhukov.

Since September of last year, there has been a noticeable uptick in the intensity, frequency, and consistency of the enemy’s advertising efforts on Facebook. Unlike previous months when posts typically clustered around the beginning of the month, September, October, and November witnessed a more evenly spread distribution. 

Serhii Zhukov highlighted a concurrent decrease in the lifespan of Facebook pages disseminating disinformation ads. 

“Previously, these pages would linger for several days, but now they barely last a few hours. Nonetheless, the Russians remain actively engaged in this endeavor, continuously refining their tactics to become more nuanced and deceptive,” he underscored.

Read more: https://mediacenter.org.ua/news