By RFPosted on 31-10-2019Modified on 31-10-2019 at 04:51

According to the most powerful social network in the world, this vast campaign that affected many African countries was made from Russia: the accounts, pages and groups concerned, present on Facebook but also on Instagram, were linked "to entities associated with a relative of the Russian President, Yevgeny Prigojine.

In total, Facebook has removed 35 accounts, 53 pages, 7 groups. Instagram, an application that belongs to Facebook, has removed five accounts from its network. Some 475,000 users followed the offending accounts.

On these groups or pages circulated content that was adapted to each country. All this information was destined for certain African countries. Côte d'Ivoire, DRC, Madagascar, Mozambique, Central Africa, Cameroon, Sudan and Libya were targeted.

They focused on international and local news, including topics such as Moscow's policy on the African continent, but also elections in Madagascar and Mozambique or critics of US and French politics in the United States. region, said Facebook.

For example, in the Central African Republic, a network of Facebook pages operated from Madagascar welcomed the Russian presence in the country, whether in terms of military aid or cultural events, in a tone suggesting that this presence was supported by a large number of of the local population.

In Libya, support went to two personalities: Marshal Khalifa Haftar and one of Muammar Gaddafi's sons.

In Madagascar, Facebook pages have been created since 2018 but became active only after the new President Andry Rajoelina took office in February 2019 to support the government.

Supporting power in place found in Sudan.

In Mozambique, the operation also sticks to the electoral calendar and criticizes the opposition

Evgeny Prigojine

This operation " seems to have relied on subcontractors native speakers of the country concerned and / or originating from the region. A method of concealment that makes it more difficult to know where these misinformation campaigns come from , "says the Cyber ​​Policy Center at Stanford University, which is the cause of the alert given to Facebook.

So who are the people responsible for this widespread disinformation operation that began in April 2018? Accounts, pages or deleted groups were linked according to the social network to a relative of Vladimir Putin: Evgeny Prigojine.

→ Listen again The European of the week: The Russian businessman Evgeny Prigojine

The man had already been accused of leading the anti-Clinton and pro-Trump campaign in the United States in 2016 in the US elections. According to the investigations of numerous Russian and Western media, Evgeni Prigojine finances the Wagner group , a security company that deploys mercenaries throughout Africa and whose name was mentioned in particular in the murder of three Russian journalists in the Central African Republic. The businessman repeatedly denied any connection with Wagner.

(With AFP)

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