Facebook in the service of Russian propaganda
In recent years, Facebook and its Community Standards, has been scrupulously dissecting pro-Ukrainian organizations, politicians, activists, and even regular citizens.
Their posts have faced frequent restrictions, often labeled as “undesirable” publications, and sometimes, accounts that have been active for over a decade have been completely removed. The primary justification frequently involves the alleged presence of “hate speech,” with any reference to russia’s war against Ukraine falling under this category.
Certain persons say that this approach is attributed to the absence of Facebook’s representative office in Ukraine, despite a substantial user base of 13 million in the country as of 2019.
In response, others argue against creating conspiracy theories. However, given WHAT Facebook now permits to be advertised and WHAT narratives it sanctions for monetary promotion, this version no longer appears as far-fetched.
This is in contrast to the strict banning of simple posts by Ukrainians, even in the absence of the slightest violation. In the meantime, outright hostile paid propaganda from transient bot accounts is allowed.
Let’s examine three instances where such transient “one-day bots” have been employed in the past.
First, the case of Naftogaz - a complete fabrication.
A fraudulent payment purportedly originating from Naftogaz promised payment discounts in exchange for reporting collaborators or draft evaders. In reality, no such communication existed.
Russian propagandists manipulated an existing payment record by appending a fabricated QR code accompanied by the message: “You can receive a DISCOUNT on your bill by informing us about a collaborator or evader using a bot.”
Naftogaz promptly refuted this fake.
“Attention, fake! russian Telegram channels are spreading a fake bill of payment allegedly from the gas supply company Naftogaz of Ukraine. We advise against placing trust in dubious sources of information, particularly those with links to the aggressor country.”
In the media, which is driven by financial incentives, russian propaganda employs a negative narrative, referring to the military’s actions as a “meat grinder assault” instead of the term “counter-offensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.” This is an attempt to sow discord among Ukrainians by claiming that the state itself encourages the practice of so-called “denunciations.”
However, it’s important to clarify that reporting a crime or collaboration to the relevant authorities is not denunciation but rather a reflection of one’s conscience and respect for oneself and one’s country.
Ukrainian pilots’ training on F-16s takes place exclusively on the ground.
Another paid media outlet raises concerns about the training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16s, alleging that the aircraft are being delivered very slowly and pilots are inadequately trained, relying solely on textbooks.
This fake claim aims to undermine trust in Western military assistance, fostering skepticism toward the EU, US, UK, etc.
In fact, the Deputy Head of the Presidential Office, Ihor Zhovkva, has confirmed that Ukrainian military forces may soon receive modern F-16 fighters from Western sources, with an official announcement expected in the near future.
As soon as the training of Ukrainian pilots is completed, the West will probably take a final decision.
“We will definitely receive a decision on the supply of F-16s soon, and these aircraft are a crucial part of securing our airspace. This equipment is significantly different from what our skilled pilots currently operate... Our pilots will begin their training shortly, and they will undoubtedly progress more rapidly than through textbooks because time is of the essence,” the statement declared.
Investigation into the “disappearance of humanitarian aid”
A third paid Facebook post highlights an inquiry undertaken by NGL.media into the alleged disappearance of 34 million UAH worth of humanitarian aid from the United States in Lviv.
This investigation does indeed exist, yet it’s being exploited favourably by enemy propaganda in an attempt to undermine the volunteer movement in Ukraine. The spreading narrative suggests that “no matter how much aid Ukraine receives, it will all be stolen.”
In truth, the account promoting this narrative made a critical error, revealing the source of the scheme’s funding and its purpose. They asserted that all the humanitarian aid from the United States had already been sold on the platform... Avito.
But, Avito is completely absent from the Ukrainian discourse and information landscape. It is, in fact, a russian online service for advertising goods, real estate, job vacancies, CVs on the labour market, as well as services offered by both individuals and companies