US disrupts Russian government-backed disinformation campaign that relied on AI technology

WASHINGTON — A Russian propaganda campaign backed by the Kremlin that spread online disinformation in the United States and was boosted by artificial intelligence has been disrupted, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

U.S. officials described the internet operation as part of an ongoing effort to sow discord in the U.S. through the creation of fictitious social media profiles that purport to belong to authentic Americans but are actually designed to advance the aims of the Russian government, including by spreading disinformation about its war with Ukraine.

U.S. officials said the scheme was organized in 2022 after a senior editor at RT, a Russian-state-funded media organization that has registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent, helped develop technology for a so-called social media bot farm. It received the support and financial approval of the Kremlin, with an officer of Russia’s Federal Security Service — or FSB — leading a private intelligence organization that promoted disinformation on social media through a network of fake accounts.

The RT press office did not respond directly to a question about the allegations.

The disruption of the bot farm comes as U.S. officials have raised alarms about the potential for AI technology to impact this year’s elections

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