Public protest in Georgia’s mountainous Pankisi Gorge over construction of Khadori 3 hydroelectric power plant grew into clashes between locals and the riot police on April 21. Police used tear gas and rubber bullets against the protesters, while locals threw stones at them. Several dozen people, including police officers and locals sustained injuries. Police cars were damaged and the construction machinery burned down.
Several trolls1 have emerged on Facebook, acting online without revealing a true identity. They were justifying police operation in the Pankisi gorge, on the one hand, and spreading messages against the Pankisi gorge, the Kists and non-governmental organizations, on the other. The Myth Detector has revealed 15 trolls.
- Two categories of trolls were identified: trolls, who steal the images of other people and those, who do not upload personal photos.
- The trolls stealing the identities of others were mainly sharing in various groups the post of progovernmental expert, Gia Abashidze about the Pankisi developments, in which he accuses nongovernmental organizations of escalating tensions in the Pankisi gorge.
- The majority of trolls, who do not upload any images or upload general photos, created their Facebook accounts in 2018. The majority of identified trolls were registered on Facebook in 2018.
- The majority of them leave comments on the posts published by other pages, never sharing/publishing posts on their own timelines.
Ani Kistauri (Regional Network of Media Literacy Lab)