Not least of 446 pages, 96 groups and more than 200 accounts on Instagram have been deleted by Facebook these days. Their common point ? All were administered on the social network by a company of digital marketing called URéputation, owned by the businessman franco-tunisian Lotfi Bel Hadj, and this in violation of the charter of Facebook on the interference of foreign. In fact, the majority of the publications were intended to weigh, for the price of infox, on the elections in French-speaking Africa by supporting, for example, candidates such as the Comoros Azali Assoumani, cote d'ivoire's Henri Konan Bédié, the Tunisian Nabil Karoui, or even the Togo Faure Gnassingbé. It is thanks to an investigation initiated in September 2019 by the american laboratory Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) that Facebook has been alerted.
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The fake accounts of local media
according to the authors of the survey, the tunisian society URéputation always do it the same way. She creates in various countries of so-called information sites local to stream a content of first trivial and " attractive ", " tourism ", "the links with the diaspora" and recently on " the fight against sars coronavirus ", before changing the tone and embarking on political propaganda. These groups have thus created a hearing, "misleading," said Facebook in a statement. According to the american giant of social networks, these pages and groups, which dealt with almost 4 million users in total, have violated its charter against interference in foreign.
Contacted Monday by AFP, the target company, UReputation, did not wish to comment on.
Maghreb Info, Guineas News, Magazine, Africa, The Observer togolese or The Moronien : according to a survey by the american research laboratory Digital Forensic Research lab (DFRLab) published at the weekend, UReputation has launched pages falsely presented as sites of local information.
In reality, these pseudo-local media were not writing independent, and DFRLab said to have established links between these publications and collaborators of UReputation, to be paid according to this laboratory to disseminate information mixed with the content biased or false.
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Influence elections in French-speaking Africa
according To the same source, the publications, including surveys, misleading, argued the president of comoros Azali Assoumani, the ex-ivorian president Henri Konan Bédié, in the campaign for the October elections, the magnate tunisian media Nabil Karoui, a candidate defeated in the presidential election in late 2019, or even the togolese president Faure Gnassingbé, elected in February.
"It seems to have been motivated by financial gain, because there is not ideological continuity that emerges from the content," said DFRLab, an offshoot of the american think tank the Atlantic Council.
UReputation, based in Tunis, presents itself as an agency of" intelligence digital " and "cyberinfluence" with 75 employees. It is headed, according to industry sources, by the businessman franco-tunisian Lotfi Bel Hadj, which is notably present in Africa in the carbon offsetting.
the Author of an essay on the economy of the halal, the Bible of The halal, it has also been very active in the defence of the islamologist switzerland Tariq Ramadan when he was indicted for rape. The structure also manages the French-language information site for muslims based in Europe, Muslim Post, which covers the news of the ota.