Russia has been spreading misinformation targeting the Paris Olympics with a fake video that appears to be a warning from the CIA about traveling in the city’s metro. This fabricated video, which claims a high risk of an attack, has been circulating on various social media platforms and has gained at least 100,000 views. However, the CIA has clarified that the video is completely false and does not represent their views. U.S. officials have not issued any warnings about traveling on the metro during the games, emphasizing that security is a top priority for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

This deceptive video is connected to a Russian disinformation network that was previously exposed by Microsoft for creating a fake Netflix film featuring Tom Cruise. According to Clint Watts from Microsoft’s Threat Analysis Center, the Russian-affiliated actors behind these operations aim to spread disinformation and create a false sense of violence surrounding the Olympics. The ban on Russian athletes participating under their own flag due to the country’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 is believed to be a motivating factor behind these disinformation campaigns.

The spread of this fake CIA video began on Telegram, a messaging app, and later made its way to other platforms like X, TikTok, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Despite efforts to remove the video from these platforms, it continued to circulate widely. A similar video emerged on Telegram with France 24 branding, falsely depicting a French official criticizing the CIA for allegedly alarming the public about a terror threat in the Paris metro. This video was also confirmed to be part of the same Russian disinformation network.

European Union officials are investigating Meta, X, and Telegram for potential law violations related to disinformation, particularly in the context of the recent elections. Meta and TikTok have confirmed the removal of the falsified CIA video from their platforms, citing violations of their policies. However, X did not respond to requests for comment on the matter.

Looking ahead, experts anticipate that Russian networks may increase their disinformation efforts as the Olympics draw closer. They are likely to leverage trending news headlines to attract more people to their misleading posts and influence them to share false content. Despite these challenges, researchers are actively tracking and reporting on these operations to mitigate their impact on the public.

In conclusion, the spread of misinformation, particularly through manipulated videos, poses a significant threat to public perception and trust in official institutions. It is crucial for individuals to critically evaluate the information they encounter online and rely on credible sources to stay informed about major events like the Paris Olympics. By remaining vigilant and discerning, we can collectively combat the harmful effects of disinformation in the digital age.