Statement regarding META's Report

04 May, 2023

According to the report released by META, the company that owns Facebook, the company has deleted 80 Facebook accounts, 26 pages, 9 groups and 2 Instagram accounts due to coordinated inauthentic behavior. Groups supporting Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili and other pro-government accounts have been deleted.

According to the company, despite the fact that those behind this operation tried to hide their identity and coordination, META's investigation "discovered a connection with the Strategic Communications Department of the Georgian Government Administration."

According to the report, the network in question often used the comment function to spread unauthentic, false information in the public to create the desired mood. The network also tried to promote pro-government messages, discredit the opposition and civil activists. The report also emphasizes that all this was happening in the so-called In the context of the "Foreign Agents Act". According to META, about 33,500 US dollars were spent on advertising the posts of pro-government networks on social networks.

For information, various organizations and researchers have revealed the scheme of pages operating in support of the Georgian government and ruling party in the past. The monitoring carried out by ISFED in 2021 revealed that the pages secretly connected to the government's Stratcom had the function of public relations of the Prime Minister and the ruling party and, at the same time, were running a discrediting campaign of the opposition.

The declared main task of the Department of Strategic Communications of the Government of Georgia is to support the long-term goals of the government. In this regard, the most important thing is to increase public awareness about the integration into the European and Euro-Atlantic structures defined by the Constitution of Georgia. The fact that, according to the META investigation, the department, contrary to its declared goals, is involved in covert operations to mislead the citizens of Georgia is disturbing.

Considering the extent of damage that disinformation schemes can cause in Georgia, we, the "Coalition for Information Credibility", call on the Parliament of Georgia to use the oversight mechanisms at its disposal to study the disinformation schemes mentioned in the report, including creating a temporary investigative commission and/or contacting the State Audit Service.

Signatory organizations:

Europe-Georgia Institute - EGI
Democracy Research Institute - DRI
Governance Monitoring Center - GMC
International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy - ISFED
Institute for Development of Freedom of Information - IDFI
Open Space Caucasus - COS
Journalistic Ethics Charter of Georgia
Franklin Club
Tolerance and Diversity Institute (TDI)
Georgian Reforms Association (GRASS)
IWPR Georgia

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