Kremlin diplomats are stepping up efforts to do more dirty work online as governments and social media companies work to crack down on Russian state media and the misinformation they spread about the war in Ukraine.
Russian embassies and consulates prolifically use Facebook, Twitter and other platforms to deflect blame for atrocities while seeking to undermine the international coalition supporting Ukraine.
With hundreds of social media accounts on every continent, Russia’s diplomatic corps acts as a global propaganda network, recycling and polishing claims for audiences in every nation.
Tech companies responded by adding warning labels and removing Russia’s diplomatic accounts from its recommendations and search results. But they remain active, spreading misinformation in nearly every country, in part because their diplomatic status gives them an extra layer of protection against moderation.
“Each week since the war began, these diplomats have posted thousands of times, earning over a million Twitter engagements a week,” said the following of more than 300 embassy-linked social media accounts, Russian consulates and diplomatic groups.