Pages undertook political trolling campaigns against Georgian Dream and opposition parties prior to voting on October 31

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People line up outside a polling station during a parliamentary election in Tbilisi, Georgia October 31, 2020. (Source: REUTERS/Irakli Gedenidze)

In the run-up to the 2020 parliamentary elections in Georgia, multiple anonymous Facebook pages were involved in negative campaigning aimed at smearing political actors. These pages undertook coordinated campaigns against political parties and individual politicians on both sides of the political spectrum — the ruling party and the opposition. The main objective was to manipulate public opinion and shape negative sentiments among voters. The DFRLab compared the activities of two such networks: one targeting opposition parties and the other targeting the ruling party, Georgian Dream.

The DFRLab has previously reported on the activities of official party Facebook pages ahead of the elections. However, apart from official pages, anonymous Facebook pages also work in favor of political parties, but links between political parties and these pages are not always explicit. These anonymous pages conduct negative campaigning, spread discrediting political propaganda and pollute the digital information ecosystem. The DFRLab analysis showed that these pages became more active in the final month ahead of the elections. Nevertheless, it is challenging to discern what impact the political trolling campaign had, if any, on voter choice. …

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@AtlanticCouncil's Digital Forensic Research Lab. Catalyzing a global network of digital forensic researchers, following conflicts in real time.

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