(Ken Silva, Headline USA) Independent journalist Lee Fang published a story Friday about the Ukrainian government partnering with the FBI to pressure social media platforms to censor content doesn’t comport with the country’s war propaganda efforts—even when such content is truthful.
Fang’s story is based on an interview he conducted with llia Vitiuk, the head of the Department of Cyber Information Security in the Security Service of Ukraine, who recently spoke at a tech conference in San Francisco.
“Once we have a trace or evidence of disinformation campaigns via Facebook or other resources that are from the U.S., we pass this information to the FBI, along with writing directly to Facebook,” Vitiuk reportedly told Fang, a former Intercept reporter who has recently moved to Substack and has reported on the Twitter Files.
“We asked FBI for support to help us with Meta, to help us with others, and sometimes we get good results with that. We say, ‘Okay, this was the person who was probably Russia’s influence.'”
But what constitutes as disinformation? According to Vitiuk, that would be any information that counters the pro-Ukraine narrative.
“When people ask me, ‘How do you differentiate whether it is fake or true?’ Indeed it is very difficult in such an informational flow,” Vitiuk reportedly said. “I say, ‘Everything that is against our country, consider it a fake, even if it’s not.’ Right now, for our victory, it is important to have that kind of understanding, not to be fooled.”
Vitiuk’s reported admissions come on the heels of Facebook censoring Pulitzer prize-winning reporter Seymour Hersh’s bombshell story about how the Biden administration allegedly committed an act of eco-terrorism by sabotaging Russia’s Nord Stream natural gas pipelines last September.
Despite Hersh’s reporting being validated thus far, Facebook decided to censor it. Facebook later softened its stance. Instead of marking Hersh’s story as “false” when posted on Facebook, the social media company now labels it as “partly false.”
“Vitiuk said he did not know about Facebook’s recent throttling of the Hersh article,” Fang wrote Friday.
“But he cited the well-publicized forgery of the so-called Discord Leaks, in which pro-Russian voices on the platform Telegram had manipulated one of the leaked military documents to falsely claim higher Ukrainian and lower Russian casualty levels during the war, as a prominent example of disinformation.”
The FBI and Facebook both declined to comment for Fang’s story.
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.