Germany has exposed a significant pro-Russia disinformation campaign employing thousands of fake accounts on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, aimed at inciting resentment toward Berlin’s support for Ukraine, a report from Der Spiegel reveals.
Experts working with the German foreign ministry utilized specialized software to monitor posts on X between December 20 and January 20. During this period, they identified over 50,000 fake user accounts responsible for generating more than a million German-language tweets.
A prevalent theme among these tweets was the allegation that the government of Olaf Scholz was prioritizing Ukraine over the welfare of Germans. Additionally, many of these accounts shared links to fake news stories hosted on websites mimicking legitimate media outlets, linking the campaign to the Russia-linked “doppelganger” initiative previously known to authorities.
These revelations raise concerns about the potential impact of sophisticated disinformation campaigns, particularly in light of upcoming elections. With three regional elections scheduled in eastern Germany this year and the European Parliament election in June, there are worries about the influence of such campaigns on democratic processes.
Josep Borrell, the EU foreign policy chief, has emphasized the importance of combating disinformation from Russia and other sources in 2024, warning that elections will become primary targets for malign foreign actors. The World Economic Forum has also identified disinformation as the top threat over the next two years.
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