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How disinformation from a Russian AI spam farm ended up on top of Google search results

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks to the media.

Enlarge / Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks to the media at the 2024 Ukraine Recovery Conference on June 11, 2024 in Berlin. (credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

In the space of 24 hours, a piece of Russian disinformation about Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky’s wife buying a Bugatti car with American aid money traveled at warp speed across the internet. Though it originated from an unknown French website, it quickly became a trending topic on X and the top result on Google.

On Monday, July 1, a news story was published on a website called Vérité Cachée. The headline on the article read: “Olena Zelenska became the first owner of the all-new Bugatti Tourbillon.” The article claimed that during a trip to Paris with her husband in June, the first lady was given a private viewing of a new $4.8 million supercar from Bugatti and immediately placed an order. It also included a video of a man that claimed to work at the dealership.

But the video, like the website itself, was completely fake.

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