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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.

In-Depth Research & 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

Tessa Knight is a Research Assistant for the Sub-Saharan Africa region at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) based in South Africa.

Tessa originally studied genetics and biochemistry at the University of Cape Town, but switched to media and production after realising she did not want to be stuck in a lab for the rest of her life. She worked as a news journalist for two South African media companies before joining the DFRLab – EyeWitness News and Daily Maverick. At Daily Maverick she discovered her passion for tracking disinformation and the spread of digital propaganda on the African continent.

As a research assistant for DFRLab’s sub-Saharan African research unit, Tessa is committed to increasing awareness around digital propaganda, and working with other researchers, journalists and policy-makers to come up with uniquely African solutions to both local and international disinformation targeting the continent.