“Fb simply took down two overseas affect ops that it found going face to face within the Central African Republic, in addition to focusing on different nations,” says Graphika’s Ben Nimmo. “Extra-troll Kombat, you would possibly say.”
From the introduction to the Graphika report MORE TROLL KOMBAT:
On December 15, Fb announced that it had taken down three separate networks that it had found for “coordinated inauthentic habits” that focused communities throughout Africa. One, centered on the Central African Republic (CAR) and Mali, was linked to people related to the French army. The opposite two, centered respectively on CAR and Libya, had been related to the enterprise and affect operations of Russian oligarch Yevgeniy Prigozhin, founding father of the mercenary group Wagner Group and the Web Analysis Company “troll farm.” The French and Russian operations within the CAR tried to show one another, and repeatedly clashed in teams, feedback, and cartoon wars.
Now we have documented the primary of the Russian operations in a joint report with Stanford College entitled “Stoking Battle by Keystroke”; this report focuses on the French and Russian operations that focused CAR. For the sake of brevity, the operation linked to people with ties to the French army shall be known as the “French operation” on this report, whereas the Russian operation attributed to people related to previous exercise by the Web Analysis Company (IRA) and former operations attributed to entities related to Russian financier Yevgeniy Prigozhin is known as the “Russian operation” on this report. It’s value highlighting that Fb didn’t attribute the operation on to the French Authorities or the French army, and that this report equally doesn’t provide proof of institutional involvement from French governmental and army entities.
Fb’s takedown marks a uncommon publicity of rival operations from two completely different nations going face to face for affect over a 3rd nation. It underscores how geopolitical sparring on the bottom in Africa is taking part in out in parallel throughout social media – not simply Fb, but in addition Twitter, YouTube, and long-form information articles written by the operations. Earlier than the takedown, Fb shared belongings with Graphika and the Stanford Web Observatory for impartial evaluation.
The conflict between the 2 troll operations in CAR units this publicity aside. From January 2020 by way of to the second of the takedown, the rival affect operations posted in the identical teams, commented on one another’s posts, known as one another out as “faux information,” performed primary open-source evaluation to show one another’s faux accounts, friended one another, shared one another’s posts, and even, in response to one supply, tried to entrap one another with direct messages. This report is a case examine in a battle between rival affect operations; for that cause, we’ve known as this report exposing each operations and their overlap “Extra-troll Kombat.”
Extra: French and Russian Influence Operations Go Head to Head Targeting Audiences in Africa [graphika.com]