In-Depth Research & ReportsApr 7, 2021
Digital Autocracy: Maduro’s control of the Venezuelan information environment
By Esteban Ponce de León, Daniel Suárez Pérez
A 16-month monitoring report that analyzes the information environment in Venezuela, exploring the Maduro regime’s tactics when promoting influence operations in the country and abroad.
Issue briefs and reportsJun 5, 2020
Operation Carthage: How a Tunisian company conducted influence operations in African presidential elections
By Andy Carvin, Luiza Bandeira, Graham Brookie, Iain Robertson, Nika Aleksejeva, Alyssa Kann, Kanishk Karan, Ayushman Kaul, Tessa Knight, Jean le Roux, Roman Osadchik, Esteban Ponce de Leon
A Tunisia-based company operated a sophisticated digital campaign involving multiple social media platforms and websites in an attempt to influence the country’s 2019 presidential election, as well as other recent elections in Africa. In an exclusive investigation that began in September 2019, the DFRLab uncovered dozens of online assets with connections to Tunisian digital communications firm UReputation. On June 5, 2020, after conducting its own investigation, Facebook announced it had taken down more than 900 assets affiliated with the UReputation operation, including 182 user accounts, 446 pages, and 96 groups, as well as 209 Instagram accounts. The operation also involved the publication of multiple Francophone websites, some going back more than five years.
Esteban Ponce de León is a research associate at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) based in Colombia.
Esteban has been working as a data scientist and he is interested in topics such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, data journalism, and digital research. Previously, Esteban worked in data-driven journalistic productions and as a data analyst in “Fundación Ideas para la Paz”, an independent think tank in Colombia. He has developed tools to improve research processes and to automate feature engineering and data preprocessing tasks. In his free time, he loves rock climbing and trekking.