Wed, Nov 18, 2020

Belarusian activist Telegram channels are losing their audience

Article by Nika Aleksejeva

Belarus Disinformation Internet Russia

Belarusian Telegram channels about citizen activism are losing their subscribers, while the audience size of independent media outlets’ Telegram channels is growing, according to a new analysis by the DFRLab. Additionally, pro-Lukashenka Telegram channels, while relatively small, are garnering new subscribers.

Telegram has become the central platform for information-sharing amid the internet shutdown initiated by the government on the morning of the elections on August 9, 2020. According to the final election results, the longtime president Alyksandr Lukashenka received 80.1 percent of the vote to opposition candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya receiving 10.1 percent. The lopsided vote count, the Belarusian people’s distrust in their veracity, and allegations of electoral fraud have led to ongoing protests around the country.

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The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) has operationalized the study of disinformation by exposing falsehoods and fake news, documenting human rights abuses, and building digital resilience worldwide.