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Ukraine: How to Flush Out Fake News and Russian Bots?

Fake news through its various methods from mainstream to online comments and bot farms is an important part of the information war in every conflict. Although not always easy to detect, this information war has a purpose: to sow doubt, division, destabilize and weaken the position of countries with regard to any conflict.


Fake news methods are not a novelty: propaganda is something that has always existed and has developed very strongly at the beginning of the 20th century, between the advent of totalitarian states, and the second world war at the same time as the development of new media such as radio, and television. This method has been successful in surfing on modernity ever since.

In 2022, it is not always easy to detect fake news or an account that peddles it. Sometimes, it happens that false news is so well calibrated that they end up being picked up by influential people, or people with authority: sportsmen, YouTubers, twitters, politicians, etc. This is where fake news becomes the most pernicious, as it has been given an image of truth from the start. In the last 2 years, the fake news war has also shifted to Instagram, TikTok, and even Snapchat!


Often bots, internet trolls and other False news commentators tend to focus on what will create the most debate when the level of tension is at its highest. Examples include accusations of “Nazism” against the current Ukrainian government – or accusations that the US started the war.

On this last point, the United States emphasizes that the Russian invasion began without the question of Ukraine’s joining NATO being on the agenda – there were no foreign military installations (NATO or otherwise) in the country before the invasion and there was no question at the time of the invasion of integrating Ukraine into NATO… To say the opposite without demonstrating the presence of foreign military installations is therefore a transformation (not to say gross manipulation) of reality.

In the same way, many Russian bots copy/paste the same messages to underline the “double standards” of the Western attitude towards Ukraine compared to other equally tragic but more distant theaters of war. Obviously, this is a valid opinion, but there will probably be a time to debate it once the tensions have subsided a bit… a lot of assertions, strong opinions, and other unverifiable contents of this type should make you careful.

If you dig a little, you will indeed notice that many of these accounts seem to automatically copy and paste such messages – they are strongly suspected to be fake, or managed by people paid by the Russian intelligence services or a third party working for them.


RFI published an article that highlights the disinformation tricks and rhetoric used by the Russian internet trolls based on EU vs disinformation guide to deciphering pro-Kremlin disinformation around Putin’s war.

The “Swamped” model of methods used by internet trolls:

S: Strawmen: Attack views or ideas never actually expressed by the target.

W: Whataboutism: Deflect the discussion away from the topic.

A: Attack: Use brutal language to discourage the opponents.

M: Mockery: Use sarcasm to belittle the opposition.

P: Provocations: Who benefits from this?

E: Exhaust: Drown the opposition in details and technicalities.

D: Denial: Flatly deny any evidence 


Right now Youtube, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat… all the major social networks are facing a veritable tsunami of bots and fake news related to Russia. These platforms use both artificial intelligence and user reporting to moderate and fight against malicious actors from Russia.

Help the moderators by reporting messages that look like Russian bots as soon as possible. For this, you can, for example, on Youtube, indicate as a reason “incitement to hatred” for messages that try to instill division. Youtube will then decide whether the report was relevant or not, with a suspension of account for proven cases.

Wir geben unser Bestmögliches, Ihnen die neuesten Techniken und Werkzeuge zur Faktenüberprüfung zur Verfügung zu stellen. Spenden Sie jedes Mal, wenn Sie Desinformationen lesen, und das Geld wird für die Bezahlung einer Anzeige zur Überprüfung von Fakten verwendet!

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