YouTube eliminates 82 sites with Ortega regime propaganda
The shutdown of YouTube channels came two days after Facebook shut down an “intergovernmental troll farm” in Nicaragua.
HAVANA TIMES – YouTube’s parent company Google Alphabet has canceled 82 YouTube channels and three blogs, all linked to the Nicaraguan government troll farm revealed on November 1st. The channels broadcast sports and news sympathetic to the Ortega regime, a spokesperson for the Tech company told Reuters. The shutdown of YouTube channels came two days after Facebook shut down an “intergovernmental troll farm” in Nicaragua.
The Google Alphabet spokesperson explained that the removal of the strings is linked to an ongoing investigation into coordinated influence operations linked to Nicaragua. The Facebook report mentions that YouTube was also part of the Ortega regime’s network of fake accounts. The Nicaraguan government’s strategy also involved fake accounts on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, BlogSpot and Telegram.
Small YouTube channels had less than 1,500 total subscribers. They mainly “put up fraudulent content in Spanish, concerning games and sports. A small subset aired content that supported President Ortega and the Sandinista Party and criticized the United States. “
“This campaign was consistent with similar findings reported by Facebook,” the Reuters spokesman said.
Facebook discovered the “troll farm”
Likewise, the Facebook report maintained that the pro-government “troll farm” they discovered posted “material that portrays the government in a positive light, as well as negative comments about the opposition. This propaganda operation used hundreds of fake accounts to promote these messages ”. In addition, the report demonstrated the involvement of several state institutions in the generation of digital content.
“It was mainly operated by employees of the Nicaraguan Telecommunications and Postal Institute (TELCOR), working from the postal service headquarters in Managua. Other smaller clusters of fake accounts have been managed by other government institutions, including the Supreme Court and the Nicaraguan Social Security Institute, ”the report says.
On October 29, several Ortega supporters complained on Twitter about the suspension of “thousands” or “two hundred” accounts. They called the dismantling of the “troll farm” an “imperialist attack” and called the massive suspension of accounts “censorship, to create a media barrier around the accounts of leftists on the continent”. These sources claimed that the companies also suspended Venezuela’s accounts.
However, Twitter and Facebook claimed the cause for the suspension was “coordinated inauthentic behavior” by trolls allied to Ortega, involving the proliferation of fake accounts. “We have eliminated a network of 937 Facebook accounts, 140 pages, 24 groups and 363 Instagram accounts in Nicaragua,” the tech company said.
Opposition members, human rights defenders and journalists have denounced being the victims of coordinated smear campaigns and harassment through false profiles of “users” claiming to sympathize with the Ortega regime.
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