Discrediting and propaganda messages spread on Facebook March 14-27
Campaign sponsored by pro-government pages on the draft law on "transparency of foreign influence"
After the parliament passed a Russian-style law on transparency of foreign influence on March 10, a coordinated and advertised campaign was launched on anonymous pages, PosTV Facebook pages and Facebook groups, with the aim of discrediting the protest against the mentioned law. The pages mainly featured videos related to the mentioned topic, which were sponsored on the anonymous Facebook page “პოლიტიკური აბსურდი” (Political Absurdity) and the PosTV - Analytics page, they were also shared in groups by various suspicious accounts.
Photo - Political Absurdity: “Fraud of the century. How an American law was branded as Russian”
Photo – PosTV - Analytics: “Fraud of the century. How an American law was branded as Russian”
Photo - Anna Kiladze posting in the group “Forward for a better future for Georgia”: “Fraud of the century. How an American law was branded as Russian”
In one of the video clips, entitled “Fraud of the century. How an American law was branded as Russian”, it was mentioned that a part of the population was deliberately misled about the draft law and that "it was called a Russian law without any arguments".
The pages accused Dimitri Chikovani, Davit Kezerashvili's brother-in-law, of financing the students' protest. On March 15, the rapper Master’s song about non-governmental organizations was published on the same pages, which contained insulting messages about the participants of the protest.
Photo - Political Absurdity, Terenti Gldaneli, Forward for a better future for Georgia (Group), Idea bank of Adjara, That’s Batumi, PosTV News and PosTV Analytics shared the same video with the caption: “A student sponsored by Kezerashvili's brother-in-law categorically refuses to disclose bank statements”.
In one of the video clips, the United National Movement was accused of “messing up the situation” with the "subject of Russia" and accusing them of treason.
Photo - PosTV: “Who is trying to destabilize the country by using subject of Russia?”
Photo - Political Absurdity: “Know who wants to mess up the situation”
Photo - Gabriel Ugrekhelidze to the “2012” together our Georgian dream will come true” group: “Remember the crimes of the UNM”.
In the same period of time, a new false media page PrimeNews.Ge was created, which operates in favor of the ruling party Georgian Dream and its formally separated group the People's Power. The page reported that Canada and the European Union are working on laws similar to the Transparency of Foreign Influence bill. Statements by the People's Power and its members were also published on the topic of the draft law.
Photo - PrimeNews.ge: “The EU is working on a law that would force non-governmental groups, consultancies and academic institutions to disclose any funding they receive from outside the EU”.
Photo - PrimeNews.ge: ”The Global War Party is conducting polarizing actions through American and European official structures”.
Posts discrediting Dato Gorgiladze
After the writer and TV presenter of the Georgian Public Broadcaster, Dato Gorgiladze, expressed critical opinions about the "Transparency of Foreign Influence" bill, discrediting and insulting posts that targeted him were published on anonymous Facebook pages operating against the opposition.
Photo - Terenti Gldaneli: “Who’s your favorite liberal fascist?”
Posts discrediting Levan Khabeishvili
Posts pointing out incompetencies of the chairman of the United National Movement, Levan Khabeishvili, were published on anti-opposition pages. Khabeishvili was also mocked because of the congratulatory video of the Novruz Bayram holiday.
Photo - Terenti Gldaneli: “This clown can’t even read?”
Photo - Political Absurdity: “Who’s a bigger politician, Churchill or Khabeishvili?”
Campaign against the people who liked Nino Lomjaria's post
Photos of some of the people who liked the post published on the personal Facebook page of the former public defender Nino Lomjaria, including their first and last names, as well as their place of work, were distributed on the pro-government media outlet PosTV Analytics. The post, in which Lomjaria addresses the deputies supporting the” Russian law” and employees of pro-government media outlets, was referred to as a "fascist statement". It should be noted that the targets of defamation among those who liked the post were Public Defender's Office employees and international and local non-governmental organizations employees. The mentioned campaign was preceded by a story published on the same topic on the PosTV Analytics page.
Photo - PosTV Analytics: “Who are the sharers of Nino Lomjaria's fascist statements?!”
Discrediting campaign targeting Tatia Samkharadze
On March 20-21, the director of Post TV, Shalva Ramishvili, was exposed by three women for sexual harassment. Along with this, information about the meeting between Tatia Samkharadze and Dimitri Chikovani was spread on the Facebook pages of PosTV - News and PosTV - Analytics. The story indicated that the harassment allegations against Shalva Ramishvili were part of a planned campaign and Samkharadze agreed to participate in it in exchange for a financial deal. Later, posts/stories about the conflict between Tatia Samkharadze and Dimitri Chikovani and Chikovani's alleged kidnapping of Samkharadze were published. Members of the People's Power also responded to this topic. Opinions of pro-government experts were also published on the page. According to Gia Gabrichidze, the campaign against PosTV and the Samkharadze-Chikovani meeting suspiciously coincide with each other. Defamatory posts against Tatia Samkharadze were also spread on the anonymous page and account operating under the name of Terenti Gldaneli.
Photo - PosTV Analytics: “A professional victim - Tatia Samkharadze, Kezerashvili’s new hired tool ”.
Photo - PosTV News: “UNM media’s false allegations - what was Tatia Samkharadze doing in the closet?”.
Photo manipulations of Shalva Ramishvili who was exposed in sexual harassment
Mocking photo manipulations against Shalva Ramishvili, the TV host and founder PosTV, were spread on anti-government pages. Most of the posts were related to the topic of the sexual harassment exposure, in some cases the pages included parts of the media materials made by the TV host in the past.
Photo - Your Page posting a meme with the text: “They’re against successful men”.
Messages against Irakli Gharibashvili after the parliamentary hearing
Anti-government pages spread messages against the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Gharibashvili, using mocking headlines and phrases taken from the parliamentary hearing held on March 24. Fragments of statements made by him on various topics in the past were also used with derisive headlines.
Photo - Association of like-minded people Georgia posted a photo with the caption “meet our enemy”: “The Ukrainization plan is the real threat of our country - Irakli Gharibashvili”.
About the weekly review
Within the social media monitoring program, ISFED presents the weekly overview and description of messages that echo political issues, (more or less) virally circulates on social networks during the week, and involves more than one actor, account or page in its dissemination . In certain cases, the most interactive posts of the week are presented.
For data processing, the organization uses the Facebook monitoring tool Crowdtangle and relies on the existing updated 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 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.