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Russian-backed hackers tried to use Facebook for disinformation campaigns targeting Ukrainians, according to a report released by the tech giant.

Meanwhile, the general counsel for the National Labor Relations Board is seeking to have a tactic favored by employers like Amazon banned.

This is Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Send tips to The Hill’s Rebecca KlarChris Mills Rodrigo and Ines Kagubare. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.

Meta disrupts Russian hackers 

A new Facebook report found that government-affiliated hackers from Russia and Belarus attempted to use the social media platform for cyber espionage and disinformation campaigns targeting Ukrainians. 

The report, released on Thursday, said the hackers targeted the Ukrainian telecom industry, defense and energy sectors, tech platforms, journalists and activists. 

Facebook said it disrupted a disinformation campaign linked to the Belarusian KGB, which posted that Ukrainian troops were surrendering, and that the nation’s leaders were fleeing the country the day Russia invaded. The tech company said it disabled the account and stopped the campaign that same day. 

The report also found that Ghostwriter, a hacking group affiliated with Belarus, attempted to hack into the Facebook accounts of dozens of Ukrainian military personnel. 

Read more here.

NLRB seeks ban on favored Amazon tactic 

The general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will seek to have mandatory anti-union meetings during work hours banned. 

Jennifer Abruzzo, a President Biden appointee, said in a memo released Thursday that the meetings violate the National Labor Relations Act. 

The meetings, a favorite tactic of employers like Amazon, discourage workers from exercising their right not to listen to employer speech about their workplace rights, she argued. 

“This license to coerce is an anomaly in labor law, inconsistent with the Act’s protection of employees’ free choice. It is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of employers’ speech rights,” Abruzzo wrote in the memo. “I believe that the NLRB case precedent, which has tolerated such meetings, is at odds with fundamental labor-law principles, our statutory language, and our Congressional mandate.” 

Read more here.  

OBAMA WEIGHS IN

Former President Obama said at an event Wednesday that the U.S. needs to address the allure of dangerous misinformation on the internet through a mix of regulation and industry standards.

When discussing how social media companies should handle misinformation and disinformation on the internet at an event hosted by the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics and The Atlantic. 

“I do think that there is a demand for crazy on the internet that we have to grapple with,” Obama said. 

Read more here.  

APPLE PUTS PUTIN OPPOSITION APP BACK 

Apple has put a voting app back on its app store in Russia that was created by Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny.  

Navalny’s chief of staff, Leonid Volkov, announced on Twitter Thursday that the app, called Smart Voting, was again available for Russians after Apple took it off the store in 2021 ahead of Russian elections. 

“The Navalny App is finally available again in Russia on Apple’s App Store. Great thanks to everyone who supported our cause,” Volkov said. 

Read more here.  

VIRTUAL EVENT INVITE

The Hill’s Future of Jobs Summit — Tuesday, April 12 at 1:00 PM ET

The COVID-19 pandemic sparked a revolution in work. Two years later, workers and employers are still looking for answers to questions surrounding the future of jobs. How can companies stay ahead of the curve and what does that mean for upskilling and transitioning workers into new, in-demand jobs? Join us for The Hill’s Future of Jobs summit as we discuss the evolving workforce of tomorrow. RSVP today.

BITS & PIECES

An op-ed to chew on: It’s also important to win the information war with Putin’s Russia  

Lighter click: back to office struggles 

Notable links from around the web

Facial Recognition Goes to War (The New York Times / Kashmir Hill) 

Sex Workers Banned From Banks Turn to Crypto (Motherboard / Samantha Cole) 

Out of prison, TikTok influencers are reshaping how we think about life behind bars (NBC News/ Keri Blakinger)  

One more thing: NYT’s new Twitter policy

The New York Times is updating its policies for how its journalists use Twitter and emphasizing that use of the social media platform is optional given the dangers of online harassment. 

In a memo to employees on Thursday shared with The Hill, Dean Baquet, the newspaper’s top editor, announced what he called a “reset in our approach,” handing down new guidance dictating that “maintaining a presence on Twitter and social media is now purely optional for Times journalists.” 

Baquet wrote that he has been hearing from staffers about “the challenges that Twitter presents,” writing that staffers at the leading national newspaper often “can rely too much on Twitter as a reporting and feedback tool.” 

Such feedback, Baquet wrote, can be harmful to the Times’ journalism when “our feeds become echo chambers.” 

Read more here.  

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Technology and Cybersecurity pages for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.

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