AI-Powered Russian Bot Farm Exposed: Nearly 1,000 Fake Accounts Targeting Americans Shut Down

Washington, DC – US officials have taken action against an AI-powered information operation orchestrated from Russia, targeting close to a thousand accounts posing as Americans. The operation involved the use of automated “bots” to spread pro-Russia propaganda online, masquerading as real individuals.

These deceptive accounts on social media platforms aimed to promote pro-Russian narratives, particularly concerning the conflict in Ukraine. The US Justice Department revealed in court documents that the operation was masterminded by a deputy editor at the Kremlin-owned RT network, previously known as Russia Today.

While RT operates television channels in English and other languages, it has garnered more attention on social media platforms than traditional broadcast outlets. The Justice Department seized two associated websites and compelled the network to disclose information on roughly 968 bot accounts involved in the scheme.

According to the legal filings, artificial intelligence technology was utilized to generate these accounts, enabling the dissemination of propaganda in support of the Russian government’s interests. FBI Director Christopher Wray described the operation as a significant step in disrupting a Russian-sponsored AI-enhanced social media bot farm, focused on spreading foreign disinformation.

The court documents revealed that the so-called “bot farm” was initially conceived by an RT deputy editor-in-chief seeking innovative methods for story distribution. Following the shutdown of RT America by US cable providers post-Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, another RT employee further developed the network.

While no criminal charges have been publicly disclosed, the Justice Department emphasized ongoing investigations into the matter. Experts like Nina Jankowicz from the American Sunlight Project pointed out that the use of AI in creating fake accounts is becoming prevalent in disinformation campaigns linked to Russia.

Artificial intelligence’s integration into the arsenal of disinformation tactics highlights the evolving landscape of online propaganda. The development underscores the importance of vigilance and proactive measures to address the threat posed by such sophisticated operations.