A new report by Microsoft’s Threat Analysis Center has said that Russian propagandists have exploited celebrity videos from the Cameo platform to spread fakes on Ukraine on social media, CNN has reported.
Cameo is a popular website where people can pay public figures for personalized video messages.
Cybersecurity researchers at Microsoft have revealed that pro-Russia social media channels have begun circulating videos of American celebrities that were “deceptively edited to push anti-Ukraine propaganda” since July 2023.
According to the report, an unknown Russia-aligned influence actor leveraged Cameo to obtain these videos of celebrities, including actor Elijah Wood and boxer Mike Tyson.
Those videos were edited in ways that appeared to attack Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and the celebrities were apparently unaware of being exploited by propagandists.
“The short video messages, which often feature celebrities pleading with ‘Vladimir’ to seek help for substance abuse, are edited by the unknown actor to include emojis and links,” the report reads.
The Microsoft researchers have observed at least seven types of manipulated celebrity video messages being used in the last six months.
Some of the videos were edited to make them look like they were interviews with news outlets or from a celebrity’s own social media account.