A newfangled scam- Fake Russian accounts spend $77,000 to target African countries   


31 October 2019 : Scams never seem to take a backseat in the social media world. Recently, Facebook announced the elimination of several accounts and pages, on account of fake news.


Upon further investigation it was found that these accounts were traced back to Russia and the notorious Russian Financer -Yevgeniy Prigozhin. Mr Prigozhin has previously been indicted by the US Justice Department, and is likely to be put in the witness box yet again.


The main purpose of these accounts was to spread fake news targeting seven African countries- Madagascar, Central African Republic, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Sudan, and Libya.


In a statement released on Wednesday, October 30, 2019, Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy, said, “each of these operations created networks of accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing


He continued “Although the people behind these networks attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, our investigation connected these campaigns to entities associated with Russian financier Yevgeniy Prigozhin, who was previously indicted by the US Justice Department.

“We have shared information about our findings with law enforcement, policymakers, and industry partners.”


The Russian originated 35 Facebook accounts, 53 Pages, seven Groups and five Instagram accounts spent about $77,000 in ads ( in April 2018 and the most recent ad ran in October 2019.) to run various fake news


To seem legit, these individuals used a combination of fake accounts and authentic accounts of local nationals in Madagascar and Mozambique to manage Pages and Groups and post their content.


They mainly focussed on global and local political news including topics like Russian policies in Africa, elections in Madagascar and Mozambique, election monitoring by a local non-governmental organization and bashing of French and US policies.



Sudan has also been the target of some of these swindles. 17 Facebook accounts, 18 Pages, 3 Groups and six Instagram accounts, originating in Russia, focussing primarily on Sudan were also taken down by Facebook. These arabic dominated accounts shared excerpts from SUNA (Sudan’s state news agency),the Russian state-controlled media Sputnik and RT. 


The Page administrators and account owners posted about local news and events in Sudan and other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Sudanese-Russian relations, US-Russian relations, Russian foreign policy and Muslims in Russia.  


Reporting for EasyKobo on Thursday , 31 October 2019 in Lagos, Nigeria

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