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Newsline: FBI trolls Russian embassy in Washington with geotargeted ads for disgruntled spies

The FBI’s latest counterintelligence operation against Russia is hardly secretive—you just have to be standing in the right place. In the wake of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, the FBI has stepped up its recruiting efforts in the US, hoping to attract Russians who are dissatisfied or disillusioned with the war. People standing in close proximity to the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC, can see the ads, which appear in Russian, on Facebook, Twitter, and Google. The Facebook ad that appears at the Russian Embassy shows Sergey Naryshkin, director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, standing uncomfortably at a lectern alongside a stern-looking Putin. The text over the image quotes Putin, saying, “Speak plainly, Sergey Yevgenyevich.” The ad recalls a series of tense moments from one of Putin’s televised meetings in the build-up to the war, during which he repeatedly interrupted Naryshkin and pressed him to “speak plainly” when the spy chief stumbled over his words. At the bottom of the image, the FBI wrote, “Speak plainly… we are ready to listen.” (https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2022/03/fbi-trolls-russian-embassy-with-geotargeted-ads-for-disgruntled-spies/) Many advertising platforms allow advertisers to target ads based on location.

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