Russia spreads fakes to undermine US voter trust in Ukraine, BBC reports

July 9,2024 402
Russia spreads fakes to undermine US voter trust in Ukraine, BBC reports

A network of Russian websites posing as American media is spreading anti-Ukrainian fake stories. Materials created with artificial intelligence aim to undermine support for Ukraine ahead of the US elections, according to BBC Verify and BBC News investigation.

A recent fabricated story alleged that Ukraine’s First Lady, Olena Zelenska, purchased a €4.5 million Bugatti Tourbillon car using US aid funds while in France. The claim originated from a non-existent website named Vérité Cachée, known for generating false news stories through AI, containing multiple errors. Experts promptly discredited the story, pointing out inaccuracies in the details of the online account purportedly used for the transaction.

Bugatti also issued a sharp rebuttal, and a Paris dealership threatened legal action against those responsible for the fake. “But before the truth could even get its shoes on, the lie had gone viral. Influencers had already picked up the false story and spread it widely. One X user, the pro-Russia, pro-Donald Trump activist Jackson Hinkle, posted a link seen by more than 6.5m people. Several other accounts spread the story to millions more X users – at least 12m in total, according to the site’s metrics,” BBC reports.

Journalists are highlighting the proliferation of fake stories aimed at influencing US voters and fostering distrust ahead of the November elections. These fabricated reports are created and disseminated through an automated process using AI to generate content. Common themes in these stories include support for Ukraine and aid to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, designed specifically to incite animosity.

Experts say that the operation is just one part of a much larger ongoing effort, led from Moscow, to spread disinformation during the US election campaign,” the investigation concludes.

Cover: BBC

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