Tech Digest: Russian troll factory ‘plaguing social media with propaganda’


Britain has accused a “sick Russian troll factory” of “plaguing social media with Kremlin propaganda” after funding what it said was expert research into the organisation. Known as Cyber Front Z – adopting the military insignia used by Russia‘s invading forces in Ukraine – it was first uncovered in March by the news organisation Fontanka based in St Petersburg….According to Fontanka, Cyber Front Z is advertising jobs on the social media platform Telegram that require workers to post 200 comments every day to platforms including Instagram and YouTube for salaries of 45,000 roubles a month – about £500. Sky News 

Russia’s online trolling operation is becoming increasingly decentralised and is gaining “incredible traction” on TikTok with misinformation aimed at sowing doubt over events in Ukraine, a US social media researcher has warned. Darren Linvill, professor at Clemson University, South Carolina, who has been studying the Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency (IRA) troll farm operation since 2017, said it was succeeding in creating more authentic-seeming posts. He has identified the sharing of faked fact-checking posts and accounts which amplify disinformation by linking between platforms such as Instagram, TikTok and Telegram. Guardian 

The 19-year-old sat at his desk, eyes hooked on the screen. Displayed on it was a corporate-looking website. At a casual glance it was just another nondescript web page, perhaps a little sparser than the colourful social media platforms he might be expected to browse. But the American teenager had in fact gained access to the TAT-14 submarine telecommunications cable system. In operation until December 2020, the vital global commerce conduit stretched for more than 9,500 miles between France, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Britain and the US. “I came across this one web server. And the title was super interesting. So I wanted to see if I could hack it,” says Corben Leo. Telegraph 

Netflix has cancelled the development of Pearl, an animated series created by Meghan Markle, in its move to cut costs. The show, which was announced last year, is one of several projects being dropped by the streaming giant. Last month, Netflix revealed a sharp fall in subscribers and warned millions more are set to quit the service. That wiped over $50bn off the company’s market value as experts warned it faced a struggle to get back on track. Archewell Productions, the company formed by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, announced last year that Meghan would be an executive producer of Pearl. BBC 

The European Union stepped up its antitrust case against Apple on Monday, accusing the company of abusing its dominant position by limiting access to technologies allowing contactless payment. The 27-nation bloc’s executive arm, the European Commission, has been investigating Apple since 2020. The commission’s preliminary view is that the firm is restricting competition by preventing mobile wallet app developers from accessing the necessary hardware and software on Apple devices. Mobile wallets rely on near-field communication, or NFC, which uses a chip in the mobile device to wirelessly communicate with a merchant’s payment terminal. AP News 


Chris Price
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