Tunisia: Comms firm UReputation accused of coordinating Facebook disinformation campaigns to influence African elections
In June 2020, NGO Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) published a report into the operations of UReputation, a Tunisia-based digital communications firm. The company's report found that the company had created a network of inauthentic Facebook pages that targeted people in 10 African countries and were intended to influence multiple African presidential campaigns, including in Togo and in Cote d'Ivoire.
Facebook issued a statement and removed these assets "for violating the company's policy against foreign interference", after conducting its own investigation into these assets (see below).
DFRLab has conducted previous investigations into how digital communications companies profit from enaging in inauthentic behaviour on social media platforms. This activity, referred to as "disinformation as a service", demonstrates how communications companies are increasingly involved in disinformation campaigns. In contrast to other disinformation campaigns, this case is notable for appearing to be primarily for-profit motive.
[Business & Human Rights Resource Centre were unable to contact UReputation to invite them to respond to the investigations.]