Moldova Targeted: Oligarchs Spread Disinformation on Social Media

In the hybrid warfare waged by the Russian Federation against the Republic of Moldova, a key instrument for disseminating disinformation is sponsored advertising on Facebook and Google platforms.

A study by the WatchDog community identifies fugitive oligarchs Ilan Șor and Veaceslav Platon as the primary actors behind this disinformation campaign. These actors have been spending tens of thousands of euros on Facebook and Google ads to propagate disinformation.

According to the study, the two oligarchs spent nearly 31,000 euros on Facebook in just one month to propagate disinformation. The sponsored campaigns aim to sow panic within Moldovan society, discredit the country's efforts towards European integration, and whitewash Russia's image.

The lack of transparency surrounding the amount of money spent on these campaigns makes it difficult to regulate and combat disinformation. Moldovan authorities currently lack effective mechanisms to combat these disinformation tactics. They are unable to halt the sponsored campaigns and can only request their removal from international platforms after the fact.

In light of this, one solution is to inform citizens about the spread of these falsities. Another potential solution lies in more effective regulation of social networks. This could be achieved by aligning the Republic of Moldova with the European Union's Digital Services Act, with the aim of preventing the abusive use of sponsored advertising for disinformation purposes.

Translation by Iurie Tataru

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