On November 30, the Facebook page of the pro-government media “POSTV – Analytics” published information about the alleged wedding of Giuli Alasania, the mother of the former president of Georgia, and Giorgi Chaladze, a member of the “United National Movement.” According to the published post, Giuli Alasania and Giorgi Chaladze are being congratulated on their marriage using an advertisement billboard in Manhattan. The video shows an advertising banner displaying photos of Giuli Alasania and Giorgi Chaladze with the inscription: “Congratulations on your wedding”, “Love is love;”
The mentioned video was also published by the Facebook page of pro-government “Marshallpress” and Facebook pages linked to the newspaper Resonance: Resonance News, FunTube. In order to create intrigue the posts published by Resonance ask the question: “What people thought was a rumor, has it been confirmed?”
Notably, the video published by “Marshallpress” was distributed by the pro-government expert, Gia Abashidze, in the Facebook group “Citizen – non-governmental organization.”
In addition, the video of a Manhattan billboard, which congratulates Giuli Alasania and Giorgi Chaladze on their wedding was also distributed by other Facebook accounts related to the ruling “Georgian Dream” party (1,2) pro-Kremlin “Conservative Movement” (1, 2) parties.
Within a few hours, the anti-opposition page “Political Absurdity” published a photo of the faces of Alasania and Chaladze photoshopped in the statue of “Ali and Nino”.
What do we know about the advertisement aired on a billboard in Manhattan?
The footage, which was distributed on social media by POSTV on November 30, was recorded in Manhattan. The footage shows the name of the platform through which the congratulatory video was placed on one of the big screens in Times Square. A program in the TSX app called PixelStar allows anyone, with any smartphone and from anywhere in the world, to put their own fifteen-second video on a 1,672.2 square meter screen. To do this, it is enough for the interested person to download the TSX application, prepare a video, and pay only 40 USD for a fifteen-second run on a Times Square billboard. By comparison, the price of a traditional ad on one of the big screens in Times Square starts at $500 (20 repetitions of a 15-second ad).
Unlike other advertising billboards, this particular billboard is designed for social purposes and can host personal videos. A combination of artificial intelligence and human skills is used to review all submitted content and if it meets the community guidelines, the video will appear on the screen at the time selected by the user. Nudity, violence, or offensive content is not allowed on the world’s largest “social feed.” Political or religious messages and copyrighted content are also not accepted.
Accordingly, it would be possible for anyone with a smartphone to display a congratulatory video about the alleged wedding of Giuli Alasania and Giorgi Chaladze from both Georgia and the US for the price of 40 USD.
To test this service, the “Myth Detector” used the TSX application to play a video on the Manhattan screen. See the steps required to post the selected content on Times Square:
See the advertisement placed by MythDetector on the billboard:
“Myth Detector” has contacted the advertisement company and is trying to find out who placed the content published by POSTV and other media outlets.
Following the arrest of Mikheil Saakashvili, various information, including the stories about the alleged marriage between Giorgi Chaladze and Giuli Alasania, is periodically circulated on social networks in order to discredit Giuli Alasania. In an interview with “The Georgian Times”, Giorgi Chaladze labeled the mentioned claim as shameful and absurd.
The Media Development Foundation’s 2023 reports “Gendered Disinformation” and “Anti-Gender and Anti-LGBTQI Mobilization in Georgia” revealed that Giuli Alasania was a frequent target of gender-based hate speech and discrediting. In the messages directed against Giuli Alasania, we find both shaming on the basis of moral criteria and gender stereotypes, as well as ridicule and ageist attacks on the basis of appearance.
The article has been written in the framework of Facebook’s fact-checking program. You can read more about the restrictions that Facebook may impose based on this article via this link. You can find information about appealing or editing our assessment via this link.