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Fri, Jun 5, 2020

Operation Carthage: How a Tunisian company conducted influence operations in African presidential elections

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.

Issue briefs and reports 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

Africa Disinformation

Esteban Ponce de León is a research assistant 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.