February 23, 2023 | ABC News

Tim Squirrell: Meta’s conclusions on pro-Kremlin online campaigns “difficult” to assess

ISD’s Head of Communications & Editorial, Tim Squirrell, features in ABC News commenting on Meta’s report on the evolution of pro-Russia online campaigns, although noting that due to lack of transparency by the company, it was difficult to fully assess the conclusions.

In the report, the social media giant details its response to the invasion of Ukraine with restrictions on its platforms regarding Russian state-controlled media outlets, curbs on ads and ‘limiting the reach of the outlet’s content in user’s feeds’. It also monitored and identified unofficial networks promoting pro-Kremlin disinformation, noting that many ‘smash-and-grab’ low-quality accounts were made in what seems as an attempt that at least some would escape detection.

“It’s unsurprising that there has been a proliferation of pro-Kremlin accounts trying to crowd out the information environment with their propaganda,” Tim said, cautioning, however, that pro-Russia influencers were more effective than than these covert accounts or state-controlled outlets at reaching audiences.

Tim noted that Meta’s ‘conclusions are difficult to fully assess due to a lack of raw data from the company’.

“If they care so much about transparency, why are they cutting researchers out?” he asked.