DEMAND AN END TO POVERTY THIS GENERAL ELECTION
TAKE ACTION
Activism

People are leaving fake Google reviews to tell Russians what’s really happening in Ukraine

As the invasion of Ukraine continues, people across the globe are participating in an online 'hack' to get the truth to Russian citizens.

Anonymous wear masks in the style of Guy Fawkes

Thousands of people are flooding Google with fake restaurant reviews to tell people in Russia what’s actually happening in Ukraine.

The stunt comes after masked online ‘hacktivist’ group Anonymous encouraged people to leave reviews for Russian businesses as a way to cut through the state propaganda. 

“Go to Google Maps. Go to Russia. Find a restaurant or business and write a review. When you write the review, explain what is happening in Ukraine,” the group told its 7.6 million Twitter followers on Monday.

The group, which has told people to leave five star reviews, also posted a suggested message, which read: “The food was great! Unfortunately, Putin spoiled our appetites by invading Ukraine. Stand up to your dictator, stop killing innocent people! Your government is lying to you. Get up!”

This tweet alone was retweeted over 24,000 times, and has sparked an online trend. People have taken hold of the idea and are now offering their own suggestions of how to share well-hidden and direct messages. 

The online activism comes as Anonymous posted an ominous public message to Putin stating: “Members of Anonymous have declared Cyberware against [Putin’s] aggressive regime.”

Multiple Russian media sites have been hacked over the last week with anti-war messages. Anonymous claimed responsibility for disrupting Russian and Belarusian websites of banks, state broadcaster RT, and a Belarusian rail network, as well as agencies and newspapers.

Russian state-run media has a tight grip on what news its citizens are able to access. Last week it said the country was involved in a small operation in Ukraine due to Ukraine seeking to provoke a larger war, according to The Guardian. And in a speech regarding the invasion, Putin described the leaders of Ukraine as a “band of drug addicts and neo-Nazi’s”

One review stated: “While you’re enjoying your food, Russian soldiers are killing men, women & children in Ukraine – peaceful people just like you & your family.  Putin makes Russian soldiers murderers & blackens Russia & its people’s name.”

https://twitter.com/VladaKnowlton/status/1498517224792858626
https://twitter.com/MT4tk/status/1498593249308643330

Others provide examples of what’s happening in Ukraine: “Russian soldiers are killing innocent children and old people in Ukraine, shooting buses, bombing apartment buildings, kindergartens and hospitals. Your media and government are lying to you.” 

Some have also gone to Trip Advisor to write reviews, with one stating: “Take to the streets to show your support for Ukraine.”

Amid the rise in cyber activism, Anonymous – which uses a Guy Fawkes mask and a voice changer – has told Putin he will “feel the full wrath of the world’s hackers, many of whom will likely reside from your home country”. 

Other stunts seen since the Ukraine invasion include setting up fictitious companies in Russia on Google Maps with names of Ukraine cities, to describe the situation in the data. Another encourages Belarusian partisans to set fire to a control station to ensure Russians tanks and equipment can’t be transported to Ukraine. 

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke: 'Surviving brain injuries gave me a fire to keep going'
Exclusive

Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke: 'Surviving brain injuries gave me a fire to keep going'

'We are here and we exist': Inside the neighbourhood offering sanctuary to queer Russians and Ukrainians
Pride

'We are here and we exist': Inside the neighbourhood offering sanctuary to queer Russians and Ukrainians

Actor Liz Carr says it hurts to hear her younger self 'wanted to die'
Liz Carr
Disability rights

Actor Liz Carr says it hurts to hear her younger self 'wanted to die'

Feeling like change in the UK isn't possible? Let these 28 purposeful campaigns prove otherwise
Activism

Feeling like change in the UK isn't possible? Let these 28 purposeful campaigns prove otherwise

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know