Discrediting and propaganda messages spread on Facebook: July 19 - August 1
Discrediting Giorgi Margvelashvili on charges of taking money in exchange for the campaign demanding the release of Mikheil Saakashvili
On July 24, pro-government media outlets, TV company Imedi, POSTV and Pia.ge, reported that the 4th president of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, was paid $11,500 by Giuli Alasania in exchange for making statements supporting Mikheil Saakashvili. Media outlets named the document published by the US Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) as the source of information. However, as it turns out, according to the document, the PR Newswire company received the money to distribute the press release that was related to Margvelashvili's petition. In the petition prepared on behalf of Giorgi Margvelashvili, which was signed by former presidents, prime ministers and other high-ranking officials of various states, as well as former representatives of international organizations, it was discussed the responsibility of the ruling Georgian Dream party, in case of the death of Mikheil Saakashvili. The petition's signatories also demanded that Mikheil Saakashvili be taken abroad for treatment.
Pro-government media accused Margvelashvili of betraying the country's interests. Along with them, the information was spread by fake media - Facebook page PrimeNews.ge.
POSTV-News: For how many dollars did Giorgi Margvelashvili sell the interests of the country?
PrimeNews.Ge: According to FARA documents, Giorgi Margvelashvili received $11,500 from Giuli Alasania in exchange for making statements supporting Saakashvili.
Giorgi Gachechiladze (Utsnobi), a pro-government movement We Will Not Let You Mess It Up (founded by Giorgi Gachechiladze and his associates), and other pages operating against the opposition actively spread the information on the FARA document to discredit Margvelashvili. Memes with sarcastic content on the same topic were also distributed.
We Will Not Let You Mess It Up/არ აგარევინებთ: He has been liquidated
Terenti Gldaneli / ტერენტი გლდანელი: [meme]
Sarcastic messages regarding the union of United National Movement and Strategy Agmashenebeli
On July 24, Levan Khabeishvili and Giorgi Vashadze, the chairmen of the opposition political parties - United National Movement and Strategy Agmashenebeli, held a presentation of the new political platform and informed the public about their unification. The politicians' decision was followed by an active response on various Facebook pages operating against the opposition. Most of the reactions were sarcastic.
We Will Not Let You Mess It Up / არ აგარევინებთ: Strategy "Aghma-Dagma" Vashadze and Khabeishvili United
We Will Not Let You Mess It Up / არ აგარევინებთ: Vashadze returns to the National Movement. The "Strategy" did not work.
Time for truth/სიმართლის დროა: He finally got what he wanted
Photo manipulation - depicting the leaders of the ruling party as Russian tourists
On July 27, the Russian cruise ship Astoria Grande arrived in Batumi. 850 passengers, mostly Russian tourists, were on this liner that left Sochi on July 22. After the liner's arrival, footage showing statements against the territorial integrity of Georgia and threats and obscene gestures of some tourists on board were published in the media, followed by the publication of photo manipulations on anti-government pages on Facebook. The founder of the ruling party, Bidzina Ivanishvili, and the current party leaders were depicted as Russian tourists. There were also messages about the pro-Russian nature of the Georgian government.
Erm Mone / ერმ მონე: [photo]
Avlipe Zurabishvili / ავლიპე ზურაბიშვილი: A famous passenger of a Russian ship
Blue Donkey / ლურჯი ვირი: [photo]
Messages against the protest held in Batumi in connection with the visit of the Russian cruise ship Astoria Grande
On July 31, the Georgian public protested the repeated arrival of a Russian cruise ship in Batumi and the information that famous people supporting the Russian government were on board. At the rally, more than 20 people were arrested administratively. In parallel with the protest, the statements of the pro-government expert Levan Nikolaishvili were published on Facebook, in which the United National Movement was presented as an organizer of the rally. In his comments, Nikolaishvili addressed the US ambassador, Kelly Degnan.
POSTV – News: Expert Levan Nikolaishvili to Kelly Degnan: “Temur Tsamtsishvili, Gia Kandelaki, Lasha Shalamberidze – Kutaisi UNM. Giorgi Shubladze, Mamumka Bibileishvili, - From the Samtredia branch of UNM.
Madam Ambassador, do you still think ordinary people are protesting in Batumi? Maybe now I can at least convince you that it was a rally of the National Movement... "
POSTV – News: Expert Levan Nikolaishvili to Kelly Degnan:
"UNM members from Lanchkhuti at the Batumi protest – Otar Patieshvili, Kakha Askurava, Givi Tsintsadze. So, I would like to ask the American ambassador, Kelly Degnan: Is this a people's protest? This is a protest by the UNM members, and you likely encouraged it!!!"
The Facebook page of the movement - We Will Not Let You Mess It Up - also published a sarcastic video against the protest.
We Will Not Let You Mess It Up / არ აგარევინებთ: When you were resting at sea, and the UNM members came
In addition, a pro-government Facebook user, Gabi Kamaev, shared a video of several protestors to discredit the protest. 54 suspicious/fake accounts and pages were also involved in the video distribution.
It is worth noting that fake accounts steal photos from various social networks to hide their identity. For example, an account called Nini Kapanadze uses photos taken from the Instagram of famous tennis player Elena Rybakina.
[Screenshots of pofiles]
Among those who shared this video was Anita Jgerenaia's profile, whose profile photo was stolen from the Instagram account of a Russian fitness instructor, fitness.elly.
[Screenshots of pofiles]
Some of these profiles and pages are newly created, and most have been spreading pro-government, anti-Western messages and discrediting public organizations for several months. Among them, some actors were involved in distributing anti-American messages on the Facebook page operating in the name of Progressive Conservatism".
[Screenshots of the activities of anonymous users]
About weekly review
Within the social media monitoring, ISFED presents the weekly overview and describes the messages that echo the political issues, virally circulate on social networks (more or less) during the week, and more than one actor, account or page is involved in its distribution. In some instances, the most interactive posts of the week are presented.
The organization uses the Facebook monitoring tool- Crowdtangle - for data processing and relies on an existing, up-to-date database of pages/accounts involved in discrediting campaigns.
The pages are available on the platform - www.disinfoobserver.ge
The social media monitoring program of the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) is supported by the European Endowment for Democracy (EED). This publication is solely owned by ISFED and may not reflect the views of the donor