Update: In May 2020, Facebook deleted pages, groups and profiles linked to Koka Kandiashvili and his media Espersona for engaging in inauthentic coordinated behaviour. Facebook clarified that the identification of this network became possible after reports from the local fact-checking organisation.
The Myth Detector has revealed a scheme through the open sources, showing how Espersona, an online edition created by Georgian Dream’s PR technologist Koka Kandiashvili, administers Facebook groups and pages involved in the campaign of discrediting the government’s opponents, critical media and other actors.
Which groups are administered by Espersona?
Espersona’s Facebook page administers at least 14 groups (incomplete list) in social media, among them a Facebook group “ბიძინა ივანიშვილი ჩემი თანამოქალაქეა!” (Bidzina Ivanishvili – My Fellow Citizen). One of the group admins is Natia Beridze, who worked as a journalist for Espersona created by Koka Kandiashvili and quit the editorial board on December 20, the day when Facebook imposed sanctions on the pages affiliated with Georgian Dream. Natia Beridze was also featuring in the story on government trolls prepared by Mtavari TV.
Besides “Bidzina Ivanishvili – My Fellow Citizen,” Espersona administers at least 13 other groups. These 14 groups have absolutely different content and are targeting the audiences with different interests.
Name of the group
Number of members (as of December 24, 2019)
Date of creation
|ბიძინა ივანიშვილი ჩემი თანამოქალაქეა! (Bidzina Ivanishvili – My Fellow Citizen, administered by Natia Beridze, former journalist of Espersona)||409 596||5 April 2012|
|საგიჟეთი (Madhouse)||28 888||4 December 2014|
|ჩვენ გვიხარია ცხოვრება (We are happy to live)||227 389||23 May 2015|
|მსოფლიო ამბები (World news)||269 664||23 May 2013|
|აქ ყველაფერია (Here is everything)||172 506||25 May 2015|
|ჯგუფი (Group)||209 760||3 August 2014|
|ბედნიერი საზოგადოება (Happy society)||183 762||14 April 2014|
|გაიხალისე ცხოვრება (Make your life positive)||409 598||3 March 2015|
|სიყვარული (Love)||24 592||11 February 2015|
|გულიანი ხალხი (Kind-hearted people)||47 575||31 July 2014|
|პოლიტიკური ჯგუფი (Political group)||26 227||16 December 2014|
|ახალგაზრდობა (Youth)||50 729||21 June 2013|
|ჩვენი თაობა (Our generation)||44 790||19 January 2015|
|დრო (Time)||45 558||10 March 2016|
Who administers the group “Bidzina Ivanishvili – My Fellow Citizen?”
Troll Oto Kuchava with Leonardo DiCaprio’s image uploaded as a profile picture administers all the fourteen above-mentioned groups. In two (Love, Youth) out of 14 groups, another troll Liza Didiberi was also identified, who steals a model’s photos uploaded from the Internet.
Oto Kuchava’s profile was linked with pro-government troll, Avtandil Kereselidze. The latter, in turn, administered the pages discrediting the opposition, among them “იყავი და გაგეკეთებინა” (You had been there and should have done), “ჩვენთვის არავინაა” (Nobody is for us), “პოლიტიკური სანაგვე” (Political landfill), “პოლიტიკური იუმორი” (Political humor). Along with these pages and Avtandil Kereselidze, troll Oto Kuchava also administered other pages. The Myth Detector has earlier identified Avtandil Kereselidze as a government troll, who used the photos of Karo Manukyan living in Yerevan. After Karo Manukyan reported to Facebook, Avtandil Kereselidze’s profile was removed.
Which other pseudo-media pages administer Espersona’s groups?
Seven pseudo-media pages were identified that administer 13 pages along with Espersona. All the seven pages were created in a period between October and December 2019. Six out of seven pages note “Journalist” in their description section and one page named “News” describes itself as “Personal blog.” These pages do not post information on their own pages; neither do they indicate their URLs; however, they are quite active in the groups administered by Espersona. The analysis of the groups administered by these pages has revealed other groups administered by the profiles or pages affiliated with Espersona’s groups. Considering their names, these pages are positioning themselves as media outlets, but actually, they are operating with hidden identities and do not create any media content.
Pseudo-media pages affiliated with Espersona that are co-admins of the groups administered by or affiliated with Espersona
Name of the page
Date of creation
|Daily News||2 December 2019|
|Info-page||3 December 2019|
|Media bobo||21 November 2019|
|News-სიახლეები||12 November 2019|
|Ambebi||13 December 2019|
|Wnews||7 November 2019|
|სიახლეები||31 October 2019|
|News.||11 December 2019|
|News Post||5 December 2019|
Other admins of the groups administered by troll Oto Kuchava and Espersona also administer some other large groups. Two same pages and profiles “ქუჩის აკადემია” (Street Academy) and user Temo Zadoevi were identified as other admins of the groups administered by them. Six more groups (ქურდული (Thievish), უფალო შეგვიწყალენ (Lord have mercy), უნივერსალური (Universal), პოსტალიონი (Postman), ნევროზიანი (Suffering from neurosis), გართობა (Entertainment)) administered by them have Bakur Svanidze, author of pro-Russian Georgia and World, as a moderator.
Groups run by the admins of the groups administered by Espersona (incomplete list)
The list contains those groups, which are not directly administered by Espersona, but are administered by the profiles or pages affiliated with Espersona.
Name of the group
Number of members
Date of creation
|ყველაფერი (Everything)||188 677||12 May 2014|
|თინეიჯერები (Teenagers)||751||25 May 2015|
|აუ ჩემი კაი (Oh Hell)||93 081||28 April 2016|
|საინტერესო (Interesting)||68 773||11 April 2018|
|განსხვავებული (Different)||74 379||15 April 2015|
|უნივერსალური (Universal)||74 744||28 February 2017|
|ყველა ერთად (All together)||74 933||28 March 2018|
|პელაგონი (Pelagon)||79 417||29 March 2018|
|უფალო შეგვიწყალენ (Lord have mercy)||74 163||11 April 2018|
|პოსტალიონი (Postman)||84 141||28 March 2018|
|გართობა (Entertainment)||75 292||18 January 2015|
|ნევროზიანი (Suffering from neurosis)||79 679||29 March 2018|
|ქურდული (Thievish)||76 561||29 March 2018|
Activities of the pages administered by Espersona
9 of identified 14 groups are public and 5 groups are private. The analysis of public groups shows that the following groups have been most active over the past year: მსოფლიო ამბები (World News), გაიხალისე ცხოვრება (Make your life positive), ბედნიერი საზოგადოება (Happy society) and ჩვენ გვიხარია ცხოვრება (We are happy to live).
According to the interactive analysis, these groups were most active in May and October 2019.
Examples of the posts released by the Espersona groups and affiliated pages
The groups administered by Espersona spread mixed-type information. Along with entertaining and religious information, the groups spread the links of Espersona’s news stories, political content as well as information supporting Georgian Dream and Bidzina Ivanishvili. Leila Tsinadze-Melikidze, Georgian Dream’s supporter, is quite active in these groups. She has been implicated in spreading fake news and discrediting opponents. She has also spread fake information about Eka Gigauri, head of Transparency International – Georgia, in the group “Kakha Kaladze Tbilisi Mayor.”
Prepared by Sopo Gelava