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Facebook and Twitter eliminate Russian trolley farms in Ghana

Facebook and Twitter eliminate Russian trolley farms in Ghana

Trolley farms are defined as a group of anonymous comment programmers who have offensive or false references, to influence election periods or political processes.

Since their creation, they have been linked to Russia, since that country sowed uncertainty in the last United States elections between Hillary Clinton and current President Donald Trump.

In fact, Macedonia was the first country where Wired magazine discovered, specifically in the city of Veles, a fake news factory.

Now, months-long CNN research has found the whereabouts of these farms in Ghana and Nigeria, which would be linked to Russia and which encouraged Facebook and Twitter to take swift action.

Mark Zuckerberg's social network reported that it found links with an NGO in Ghana called EBLA, or "Eliminating Barriers to the Liberation of Africa", and people associated with past activities of the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA), a " Trolls Factory ”based in Saint Petersburg.

Facebook stated on CNN that “this network was in the early stages of building audiences and was operated by local citizens, with or without knowledge, in Ghana and Nigeria on behalf of individuals in Russia. He went mainly to the United States. "

There were 13,200 Facebook profiles that followed one or more of the Ghana accounts and around 263,200 people followed one or more of the Instagram accounts.

Meanwhile, Twitter stated in a statement that “the majority were tweeting in English and presented themselves as living in the United States. The accounts, which operate in Ghana and Nigeria and which we can reliably associate with Russia, attempted to sow discord by entering into talks on social issues, such as race and civil rights. ”

The chairman of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, stated that “the potential use of cutbacks on another continent to mask Russian connections is a surprising sign that our adversaries continue to seek ingenious new ways to cover their tracks and evade detection. "

On the operation of one of the trolley farms in Ghana, CNN stated that “16 Ghanaians, mostly in their 20s, worked at the complex, some living without paying rent in a nearby apartment. They were sent cell phones, not laptops, and they worked around a table. EBLA trolls communicated in a group through the encrypted Telegram app, which is rarely used in Ghana. "

Finally, US Senator Mark Warner, vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said in response to CNN reports: “Years ago I said it would be foolish to believe that there was only one IRA facility in St. Petersburg. This new report is a reminder of the continued threat we face from Russia and its continued efforts to divide and manipulate us on social media. ”

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