Independent: Meta launches ‘special operations centre’ in response to Russia’s ‘devastating’ invasion of Ukraine

Independent: Meta launches ‘special operations centre’ in response to Russia’s ‘devastating’ invasion of Ukraine. “The company, which owns Facebook and Twitter, also rolled out extra security to Ukrainian users letting them protect their accounts. Misinformation is already spreading across social media, such as a clip taken from a video game which amass millions of views as users falsely claimed it depicted real attacks.”

Input Magazine: Scammy Instagram ‘war pages’ are capitalizing on Ukraine conflict

Input Magazine: Scammy Instagram ‘war pages’ are capitalizing on Ukraine conflict. “The accounts are what have become known as ‘war pages’ on Instagram. They gather shocking battleground footage and videos depicting violence and repost them on Instagram with little to no context, often in an effort to leverage tragedy and conflict to gain followers. (War accounts such as @waraholics, @military_footage, and @war_strikes have all gained followers since the crisis in Ukraine heated up.) Some then monetize these followers by posting advertisements, often for OnlyFans creators.”

Politico: Social media platforms on the defensive as Russian-based disinformation about Ukraine spreads

Politico: Social media platforms on the defensive as Russian-based disinformation about Ukraine spreads. “Russia-backed media reports falsely claiming that the Ukrainian government is conducting genocide of civilians ran unchecked and unchallenged on Twitter and on Facebook. Videos from the Russian government — including speeches from Vladimir Putin — on YouTube received dollars from Western advertisers. Unverified TikTok videos of alleged real-time battles were instead historical footage, including doctored conflict-zone images and sounds.”

Bellingcat: Documenting and Debunking Dubious Footage from Ukraine’s Frontlines

Bellingcat: Documenting and Debunking Dubious Footage from Ukraine’s Frontlines. “With every alleged provocation a potential pretext for conflict, Bellingcat has decided to track and detail such claims as well as the circumstances surrounding them. We will share what we find via this public spreadsheet that will continue to be updated in the days ahead. While the volume of videos and claims over recent days has been significant, Bellingcat will look to add entries when incidents have been verified, debunked or if claims contained within videos or images are inconsistent with other open source evidence or contextual data.”

New York Times: Kazakhstan’s Internet Shutdown Offers Lessons for Russia-Ukraine Crisis

New York Times: Kazakhstan’s Internet Shutdown Offers Lessons for Russia-Ukraine Crisis. “Control of the internet is increasingly part of any modern conflict. Recognizing that the web is vital for communications, economics and propaganda, authorities have used shutdowns more and more to stifle dissent and maintain power, in what is akin to holding energy sources, water or supply lines hostage. In 2020, there were at least 155 internet shutdowns across 29 countries, according to the latest annual report from Access Now, an international nonprofit group that monitors these events. From January to May 2021, at least 50 shutdowns were documented in 21 countries.”

TIME: Why a Russian Invasion of Ukraine Would Be a Big Test for Google Maps

TIME: Why a Russian Invasion of Ukraine Would Be a Big Test for Google Maps. “With the prospect of a major European war greater now than at any point in recent memory, Google needs to be every bit as—if not more—aware of its response to the potential impacts of a Russian invasion of Ukraine as any sovereign nation. As one of the most powerful companies in the world, Google Maps is often treated as the ultimate authority in mapping. Google has the potential to legitimize the illegal actions of hostile nations.”

Daily Beast: Russian Sock Puppet Crew Faked Texas Guv Tweet About Biden Blackmail

Daily Beast: Russian Sock Puppet Crew Faked Texas Guv Tweet About Biden Blackmail. “Since 2014, Secondary Infektion, a disinformation crew attributed to Russia by cybersecurity officials at Facebook and Reddit, has littered the internet with fake government documents and forged screenshots of nonexistent social media posts. Despite the group’s long pedigree and deep catalog of content, its forgeries and fakes have largely failed to move public opinion or organic engagement on social media. The content, however, offers a glimpse of how Moscow has tried to undermine Ukraine’s pro-Western government with provocation forgeries similar to those now expected by U.S. intelligence.”

VIDEO: Ukraine Busts Alleged Russian Bot Farm Using Thousands of SIM Cards (Motherboard)

Motherboard: VIDEO: Ukraine Busts Alleged Russian Bot Farm Using Thousands of SIM Cards. “Ukraine’s Security Service said it has shut down a troll farm in the city of Lviv. ‘The SSU cyber specialists uncovered and dismantled two bot farms in Lviv with a total capacity of 18,000 fake accounts,’ an SSU press release said.” Know how many people are needed to control two bot farms with a total capacity of 18,000 fake accounts? Three.

CNET: Ukrainian government networks infected with malware, Microsoft warns

CNET: Ukrainian government networks infected with malware, Microsoft warns. “Microsoft said late Saturday it had identified dozens of computer networks at Ukrainian government agencies and organizations infected with destructive malware disguised as ransomware. The malware targets multiple organizations in Ukraine, including government agencies that provide critical executive branch or emergency response functions and is designed to make computers inoperable if activated by an attacker, Microsoft said.”

Find Lost Russian & Ukrainian Family: New Ukrainian database breaks down a brickwall on Christmas morning

Find Lost Russian & Ukrainian Family: New Ukrainian database breaks down a brickwall on Christmas morning. “For years, I have heard my grandmother’s brother was named after a brother who died as a baby. No one could tell me when this child was born, except he was born before 1927. On Christmas morning, I discovered a new database from the City of Kyiv archives. The archives has indexed more than 190,000 birth records for 1919-1936 here. Yes, it is in Ukrainian but it is a very simple database.” The site includes clear instructions for using the database even if you can’t read Ukrainian.

Associated Press: Ukraine offers payments for COVID jabs amid record deaths

Associated Press: Ukraine offers payments for COVID jabs amid record deaths. “Ukraine reported record daily COVID-19 deaths Tuesday as authorities struggle to boost the country’s vaccination rate amid rising coronavirus infections. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy promised Monday to pay 1,000 hryvnias ($38) to each Ukrainian who gets vaccinated. Ukrainians can receive their payments starting Dec. 19, authorities said.”

The Calvert Journal: The battle to preserve Uzbekistan’s greatest art collection is moving online

The Calvert Journal: The battle to preserve Uzbekistan’s greatest art collection is moving online. “Claims of mismanagement have dogged the Nukus Museum for decades, as officials and art lovers fight between preserving Igor Savitsky’s avant-garde art collection in the desert, or bringing its masterpieces to a wider audience. Now, a new project is putting tens of Savitsy’s greatest works online — but the battle for the museum’s future is far from over.”