FBI Issues Warning About Russian ‘Meliorator’ Disinformation Tool


FBI Uncovers Russian-Backed AI Bot Farm Spreading Disinformation on Social Media

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has uncovered a sophisticated Russian-backed operation using an artificial intelligence-powered bot farm to spread disinformation on social media platforms. Working alongside the Cyber National Mission Force and international intelligence agencies, the FBI issued a joint advisory warning social media companies about the Russian state-sponsored actors behind the operation.

The operation, known as the Meliorator Bot Farm, utilizes AI technology to create bot personas with varying levels of information on their profiles and relevant automated actions. These bot personas are capable of deploying content similar to typical social media users, perpetuating false narratives, and mirroring disinformation from existing bot personas.

To avoid detection, the creators of the Meliorator tool employed various obfuscation techniques, including IP address obfuscation and modification of browser user agent strings. The tool has been used by Russian intelligence services since 2022 to generate mass quantities of social media profiles that appear authentic.

In response to the investigation, the U.S. Justice Department seized associated domains and social media accounts used in the malign influence operations. The bot farm was developed by an individual identified as working at a state-run Russian news organization, RT.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco emphasized the Justice Department’s commitment to disrupting the criminal misuse of AI by malign actors. Social media platforms like X (formerly Twitter) have taken action to suspend bot accounts identified in the investigation.

The joint cybersecurity advisory released by the intelligence agencies provides insights for social media platforms and researchers to identify and prevent further use of the Meliorator technology. The publication includes details associated with the infrastructure of the bot network, aiding in the fight against disinformation spread through AI-powered bot farms.

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