Politics

21 Trolls against Protest Rallies

28 November, 2019

The Parliament’s November 14 decision to vote down the constitutional amendment on transition to fully proportional electoral system from 2020 triggered large-scale protests outside the Parliament building on Rustaveli Avenue. The protesters, among them opposition parties, are demanding replacement of the electoral system by the so called “German model.” On November 18, the Georgian government used riot police and force to disperse the peaceful protest rally. Protests resumed outside the Parliament building on November 25 and at dawn on November 26, police again dispersed the protesters using water cannons. 

Amid protests, pro-government trolls emerged on Facebook, discrediting protesters and expressing support to the government. The Myth Detector has identified 21 such trolls, who are stealing the identities of users registered in various social networks. Five out of 21 identified trolls administer one and the same spam groups, sharing the posts discrediting protest rallies. Two out of five admins have been deactivated. The scheme of sharing posts in various groups points at coordinated activities by trolls. These groups are: უნივერსალური (Universal), უფალო შეგვიწყალენ (God Forgive Us), საინტერესო (Interesting), ფოსტალიონი (Postman), ბიძინა ივანიშვილი ჩემი თანამოქალაქეა (Bidzina Ivanishvili My Fellow Citizen).

Groups and their admins

Along with discrediting the rallies, the trolls were also spreading pro-government messages. On the one hand, they were justifying the Parliament’s decision to vote down the amendments as well as forceful dispersal of rallies by police, and on the other, they were discrediting political opposition. The trolls were sharing the posts by Dimitri Khundadze and Giorgi Volski about protest rallies and the downvoted bill.

Discrediting the rallies

Justifying the dispersal, expressing support to the government

The majority of identified trolls got registered on Facebook in 2019 that is confirmed by their first activity on Facebook, mainly uploading a profile picture. The majority (12) of 21 identified trolls created their accounts following the June 20-21 developments.

First activity on Facebook Number
After June 20, 2019 12
Before June 20, 2019 6
2015 1
2013 1

Trolls, stealing the identities of others

 

Annex

1. სალომე გამსახურდია VK and Instagram user, Kristina Sarkisyan
2. ვიკა გედევანიშვილი VK user, Victoria Rai
3. მეგი აბუაშვილი FB user, Lika Abramyan
4. დევდარიანი ანუკი VK and FB user, Narine Abliamitova
5. ნანა წულუკიძე Odnoklassniki user, Gayane Karapetyan
6. ლიკა რურუა VK user, Alina Fedorova
7. მარიამ არაბული Iranian girl. Photo by Mihaela Noroc, the photo has been included in the catalogue of The Atlas of Beauty
8. ლექსო კირკიტაძე FB user Alekse Unanyan
9. მაკა ჩიქოვანი Ukrainian YouTube user, Aloona Larionova
10. კობა ამაშუკელი VK user, Levon Hakobyan
11. ანა სარიშვილი Maria Nikolaenko
12. ანკა თალაკვაძე FB user, Lilit Semenova
13. მართა სისვაძე VK user, Sona Kazaryan
14. ეკატერინა მგალობლიშვილი Portugal travel blogger, Barbara De Almeida  
15. ხათუნა იოსელიანი (ფოტო ამჟამად წაშლილია) Vietnamese model Nguyen Thi Ngoc
16. თამუნა ალანია VK user, Alina Abdulieva
17. ნონა ჩოჩიშვილი VK user, Евгения Депутат
18. ქრისტი კანდელაკი Australian model Miranda Kerr
19. გიორგი ბიძინაშვილი (გაუქმებული) VK user, Sergei Zakharyan
20. ვიკა გოგოლაძე Used by many users
21. Giorgi Imnadze (გაუქმებული) Used by many users

Prepared by Sopo Gelava and Ani Kistauri