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.
Jean le Roux is a research associate for the Sub-Saharan Africa region at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) based in South Africa.
Jean’s research is focused on disinformation, misinformation and digital propaganda campaigns within Africa. He has a particular interest in capacitating journalists and students to conduct open source investigations, building digital resilience and fostering a new generation of #DigitalSherlocks.
Jean has a bachelor’s degree in law and has conducted high profile corruption, maladministration and misconduct investigations within the government and financial services sectors. He has extensive experience in conducting open source investigations cultivated during his 10-year career as a journalist, investigator and analyst.