The Belarusian security service KGB appears to have deployed fake social media accounts during the migrant crisis at the EU’s external border.
There, people pretended to be activists and journalists to create unrest. Facebook’s parent company Meta reports that 41 accounts have been deleted on Facebook and 4 on Instagram.
Belarus is at loggerheads with the EU and has been directing large numbers of migrants to the borders of the Member States such as Poland in recent months. However, meta reports that the Polish authorities were criticized through fake profiles in various languages. These included reports that migrants have been mistreated and intimidated by Polish border guards.
Those behind the operation tried to keep their identities a secret, according to Meta. “But our investigation revealed a link to the KGB in Belarus.” That service has kept the name of the infamous security service from the Soviet Union. It is the mainstay of President Aleksandr Lukashenko, who has been in power in the Eastern European country since 1994.
Other countries also use social media for propaganda purposes. Twitter messaging service reported that it had deleted more than 3,400 accounts on Thursday. They had been used for influence campaigns linked to governments. In many cases (2048), these were accounts that have been used to disseminate the official account of the Chinese authorities about the treatment of the Uyghurs minority in the Xinjiang region.
The other accounts are linked to Mexico, Tanzania, Uganda, Venezuela and Russia. The latter country allegedly tried to influence public opinion via Twitter in Libya and the Central African Republic, two countries where Russia has interests.