Russian propogandists exploited celebrity Cameo videos to spread disinformation

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Russian propogandists exploited celebrity Cameo videos to spread disinformation


Russian propagandists exploited superstar movies from the favored platform Cameo to help their misinformation campaigns, cybersecurity researchers at Microsoft mentioned.

Beginning in July, pro-Russia social media channels started circulating movies of American celebrities that had been “deceptively edited to push anti-Ukraine propaganda,” based on a report printed Thursday by Microsoft’s Menace Evaluation Middle. The report mentioned an unknown Russia-aligned affect actor leveraged Cameo, the favored web site the place folks pays public figures for customized video messages, to acquire these movies of celebrities, together with actor Elijah Wooden and boxer Mike Tyson.

The celebrities had been apparently unaware that these movies had been then edited in ways in which appeared to assault Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“The brief video messages, which regularly characteristic celebrities pleading with ‘Vladimir’ to hunt assist for substance abuse, are edited by the unknown actor to incorporate emojis and hyperlinks,” based on the report. The movies had been shared broadly by pro-Russian social media accounts, after which had been additional amplified by state-backed Russian media shops, the report mentioned, the place they had been inaccurately portrayed as messages interesting on to President Zelensky.

Russia’s US embassy didn’t reply to CNN’s request for remark.

The Microsoft researchers mentioned they noticed at the very least seven of those kind of manipulated superstar video messages getting used since late July 2023. Along with Wooden and Tyson, movies featured different US celebrities resembling Priscilla Presley, and actors Dean Norris, Kate Flannery and John McGinley. The celebrities named within the report didn’t instantly reply to CNN’s requests for remark.

The movies had been edited in some circumstances to make it seem like they had been interviews with information shops or from a celeb’s personal social media account – and a part of broader pleas to Zelensky to get assist for a supposed substance abuse concern.

“Kremlin officers and Russian state-sponsored propaganda have lengthy promoted the false declare that President Zelensky struggles with substance abuse; nonetheless, this marketing campaign marks a novel strategy by pro-Russia actors in search of to additional the narrative within the on-line data area,” the Microsoft researchers said within the report.

A Cameo spokesperson advised CNN in an announcement that the corporate doesn’t publicly remark “on the main points of its Belief & Security investigations.” The spokesperson added, nonetheless, that these kind of movies “would violate Cameo’s Group Tips, and in circumstances the place such violations are substantiated Cameo will usually take steps to take away the problematic content material and droop the purchaser’s account to assist stop additional points.”

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