How fake media accounts in Afghanistan are used to push Taliban propaganda

© Observers

Since the Taliban took over control of Afghanistan in August 2021, numerous accounts mimicking or trying to present themselves as media outlets have popped up online. These fake accounts share content that appears to be authentic, often using the same graphic signature and style as the real media outlet. But on closer inspection, researchers from the NGO Afghan Witness found that their posts have no basis in reality and serve to undermine opposition groups in Afghanistan and clamp down on independent media.

Tom Stubbs, Senior Analyst for Information Operations at Afghan Witness, told the FRANCE 24 Observers more.

The content revolves around denigrating both Afghan International and opposition within Afghanistan. And a lot of the stories they were sharing weren't backed up in any other media. Normally, when you have a news story from Afghanistan International or other news agencies, we can actually follow that up and we can understand the nature of what they're saying is true. But what this fake account was doing was just made up.

The @AF_Inter5 account’s posts often extol the Taliban’s impact on Afghanistan, after the group reclaimed control of the country in August 2021.

Posts also undermine the rival National Resistance Front (NRF), which constitutes the main organised resistance to Taliban control.

A poorly copied fake account

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