DIGITAL forensic experts in Germany have uncovered a vast, pro-Russia disinformation campaign against the government using thousands of fake accounts on X.
The revelations come amid growing concern about the impact increasingly sophisticated disinformation campaigns could have on elections globally.
Der Spiegel, which had access to the findings, stated that the analysts found over 50,000 fake X user accounts that do not belong to real people and are involved in coordinated German-language information campaigns that support the Russian narrative about the invasion of Ukraine.
The overwhelming tone of the messages was the suggestion that the Olaf Scholz-led German government was neglecting the needs of Germans as a result of its support for Ukraine, both in terms of weapons and aid, as well as by taking in more than a million refugees.
The X accounts also often linked to fake news stories on websites designed to resemble those of genuine media outlets, led analysts to connect it to the Russia-linked “Doppelganger” campaign already known to authorities.
The analysts said they were convinced the source of the campaign was in Russia, making a connection to the Russian-led Doppelgänger campaign that first emerged in 2022, affecting the UK, France and Italy. Among the faked posts then were mock-up versions of reports from UK’s The Guardian and Daily Mail, among other publications.
The analysis showed that the operators of the message-sending system appeared to take breaks at the weekends and on Russian holidays, when the number of posts noticeably reduced.