The social network Facebook in its report branded Russia as the main initiator of most of the disinformation operations within the country and abroad. The top 5 also includes Iran, Myanmar, the United States, and Ukraine that was ranked fifth.
This is stated in the company's report for the past 4 years (since 2017), where it analyzed "the coordinated inauthentic behavior." In general, Facebook identified disinformation campaigns in more than 50 countries, and the report itself mentions 150 such networks.
For instance, in Ukraine, 8 networks were found that are related to PR and advertising agencies, as well as to political parties. The report indicates that over the past four years, the company has investigated influence operations carried out by media, marketing and PR companies, including those in Ukraine. Some of them were internal and promoted interests related to political structures.
At the same time, Ukraine (as well as the US, UK, Libya, and Sudan) was most often exposed to foreign disinformation networks. For instance, the report says that at the beginning of 2020, an operation controlled by Russian military intelligence was targeted at our country and neighboring states. At that time fake personalities were created who acted on blog forums and numerous social media platforms. Some of them posed as citizen journalists and tried to contact politicians, journalists and other public figures in the region. "Operation" was removed even before it gained many subscribers, but some publications caught up these blogs.
Disinformation in Russia, Iran, Myanmar, and the USA
At the same time, 27 influence operations were identified in Russia that became the largest supplier of disinformation. 15 of them were related to the Internet Research Agency or other organizations tied to Yevgeny Prigozhin, the rest were tied to the Kremlin special services, and two more—to Russian media websites. In Iran, 23 operations were detected, in Myanmar and the United States—nine. Facebook paid particular attention to the US elections in 2020, calling them "a watershed moment in the recent history of influence operations."
The report summarizes that more and more players have taken their cue from Russia and launched disinformation operations in their countries. This includes networks of shadowy public relations firms that sometimes play for both sides within a country, as well as politicians, marginalized political groups and governments.
Context. In early May, Facebook released a report on the fight against bots and coordinated networks of fake accounts. Ukraine also was included in the report, as over the past few years it has become one of the main sources of CIB activity that was detected and removed.