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Facebook removes 396 bots and trolls allegedly orchestrated by Georgian Dream

By Nika Gamtsemlidze
Monday, December 23
On December 20, Facebook removed a total of 396 pages and groups from its main platform. These pages and groups were famous for spreading pro-government and anti-opposition posts.

The Facebook statement said that the pages that had already been deleted were linked to the ruling party, the Georgian Dream, but were showing themselves as parties, media, real people and activist groups.

The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab), said the pages are mostly working in the Georgian audience and distributing such socio-political content that promotes the polarization of the society, targeting opposition parties and civil society and the Western partners, particularly the United States.

Among the deleted pages were pages focused on religion, ‘sensational’ news, and memes. Their subscribers ranged from 400 to 11,000. The pages attempted to appear as online media platforms (Daily Info,,,, and etc.), though the relevant publications of these names were not found on the Internet.

Mamuka Mdinaradze, chairman of the Georgian Dream faction, denies the statement released by Facebook.

The lawmaker addressed this issue on his Facebook page, and once again slammed the United National Movement. In particular, Mdinaradze draws attention to recent criticism of strategic partners, saying that this was at the request of the UNM.

Mdinaradze also sees the involvement of the United National Movement in a Facebook statement as well, though he did not specify what he meant.

Graham Brooke, director of the Atlantic Council's DFRLab, told Voice of America that Facebook and the DFRLab have been investigating suspected coordinated and unauthorized operations in Georgia separately. The digital lab studied approximately 260 groups and pages, none of them were personal pages.

"These groups and pages were publishing content that was directly related to the work of the Georgian government and they expressed only one position. Based on our capabilities, which are limited to open source, we can confidently say that it was a coordinated operation," said Brooke.

Unlike DFRLab, Facebook conducts investigations in greater detail, not just on open sources, but on internal technical capabilities.

The Facebook investigation was carried out using technical internal resources on the platform itself. In an internal search, Facebook revealed that the network's operation was directly linked to the Georgian Dream government and the government-run advertising agency Panda.

According to a study released in September by Oxford University, information campaigns organized by governments or political forces have been reported in 70 countries this year. Georgia is one of them. In 2018, similar operations were reported in 48 countries, and in 2017 - 28.

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