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Ukraine's Security Service detains bot farm owner who sold "Ukrainians" to Russian propagandists

Friday, 7 April 2023, 12:53
Ukraine's Security Service detains bot farm owner who sold Ukrainians to Russian propagandists

The Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) has detained a man who sold fake accounts of Ukrainians to Russian secret services and propagandists for information about the situation on the front line.

Source: press service of SSU

Details: According to the investigation, the bot farm was organised by an internally displaced person from Zaporizhzhia. He installed special equipment in one of the residential areas of Kropyvnytskyi and created anonymous social media accounts, selling them through the Darknet.  The average cost of one bot is UAH 200 (US$5).


Thus, the man created almost 3,000 fake accounts, which he planned to sell for a total of more than UAH 500,000 (US$ 13,534).


The SSU reports that his main "clients" were representatives of Russian secret services and pro-Kremlin propagandists under their control.

Quote: "The aggressor needed the bots to spread disinformation allegedly on behalf of Ukrainian citizens about the situation at the front line, as well as to try to discredit the units of the Armed Forces.

This way, the enemy tried to undermine the domestic political situation in different oblasts of Ukraine during the war."

More details: During the searches in the man's apartment, the SSU found computer equipment and 3,000 SIM cards.

He was served with a notice of suspicion under Art. 436.2 (justification, recognition as lawful, denial of Russian armed aggression against Ukraine, glorification of its participants) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

The issue of additional qualification of the crime and a restriction measure in the form of detention is being considered.

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