The Government Information Cell is reportedly reaching Russian social media users to show the UK’s view of the conflict in Ukraine
© Getty Images / Anastasia_Prish
Britain is utilizing its new so-called counter-disinformation unit to buy ads on Russian social media to disseminate London’s view on the conflict in Ukraine, the Telegraph claimed on Saturday. The Government Information Cell (GIC) is operated between the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office, the first such unit since the end of the Cold War. The social media platform mentioned in the article has refuted reports that it showed British government ads.
The unit’s “crucial audiences” are in Russia and Ukraine, the article highlights. After Moscow blocked Twitter and Facebook, the Telegraph reports, the GIC has turned to advertising agencies to “target” Russian users on sites such as VK, the country’s most popular domestic social media platform. The tech firm’s press service has already refuted the claim, telling Russian news site RBC that “all ads go through verification and have to follow VK’s and Russia’s law.” The website rules in any case prohibit political ads.
The tactic is described as reaching the devices of people “who would never have thought to seek out the view of the British Government.” Some 35 full-time staff were reportedly pulled from numerous departments, including the Foreign Office, Home Office, Ministry of Defence, Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, and the Cabinet Office.