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The idea was shared by the hacking group on Twitter, who wrote on Monday (28 February): “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,” they continued, adding that Twitter user @Konrad03249040 came up with the plan.
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.— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) February 28, 2022
Idea via @Konrad03249040
Underneath the post, Anonymous added a message in Russian for those who don’t know what to say alongside an English translation which reads:
“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!”
Numerous people have taken on the idea, while others added in their own additional advice.
“Leave 5 star reviews (unless its Russian State owned, then feel free to leave 1 star ratings),” wrote one.
“The point is to push information to the Russian civilian population being lied to by Putin.”
“But be careful,” said a second, “Do not leave any personal information and consider to vary the text templates provided here (otherwise they can be easily filtered automatically).”
Others revealed that they’ve taken on the idea, with one writing: “I’ve done it now to hotels, law firms, restaurants, karaoke bars, etc. post on any type of review.”
“Every single restaurant I have clicked on so far had at least one of these reviews,” said another.
“The power of social media.”
The news arrives amid a new report from The New York Times highlighting how media companies including Google, Meta, Apple, Twitter and TikTok have until the end of the month to follow a new law requiring them to establish legal entities within Russia.
Legal experts and civil society groups told the outlet that the law could make the tech companies more vulnerable to the censoring of Russia's military actions in Ukraine.
The call from Anonymous for people to inform Russian citizens via Google reviews is part of its continued involvement in the conflict.
On Sunday (27 February), the hacking group issued a chilling warning to President Vladimir Putin, telling him his 'secrets may no longer be safe'.
In the clip, a masked figure said: “Mr Putin, the ongoing invasion of Ukraine has shown that your regime has no respect for human rights or the self determination of your neighbours.
“In the past several days a full scale invasion has commenced, civilian neighbourhoods have been bombed and innocent people have been killed.
“Refugees are fleeing the violence and the population is being forced into conscription by Ukrainian officials.
“This is an ugly situation all around but you are the instigator.”
The message went on to say that the ‘whole world’ can see through Putin’s propaganda and that even his own citizens are against his 'foolish actions'.
The group also threatened ‘unprecedented cyber attacks from all corners of the world’, adding that they have ‘declared cyber war’ against Putin’s ‘aggressive regime’.
“A few downed websites is only the beginning, though. Soon you will feel the full wrath of the world’s hackers, many of whom will likely reside from your home country.”
If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information.