Ukraine-Russia war: What does facial recognition software say about the crowd behind Putin?

  • By Jake Horton, Adam Robinson and Paul Myers
  • BBC Reality Check and BBC Monitoring

photo credit, Getty Images

image caption,

President Putin made a speech on television on New Year’s Eve.

Social networks are full of claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin was surrounded by actors during his New Year’s address and previous events, echoing on news sites. But what is the evidence?

We used facial recognition software to verify some of these claims.

The Russian president has a habit of posing at events where some of the participants are not what they seem.

A 2020 BBC Russia investigation found that some events presented as impromptu conversations with everyday people were actually filled with friendly local officials.

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