Doppelganger – that’s the name of a vast disinformation campaign orchestrated by Russia to undermine Ukraine by spreading false narratives. But it has now moved onto a new target: the Israel-Hamas war.
From the font to the layout, everything looks exactly like the website of the French daily Le Parisien.
But what’s surprising is the article that claims French President Emmanuel Macron has “the blood of Palestinians on his hands.”
In reality, it’s a fake article, published on an almost identical platform with just a slightly different URL to the real Le Parisien website.
Indeed, the original Le Parisien URL ends with .fr while this one ends with .pm.
It’s not the first time this has happened. In June, the French authorities said they uncovered a massive Russia-linked disinformation campaign that targeted multiple newspapers and even the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Websites such as the ones from 20 Minutes and Le Monde were ‘cloned’ and used to publish fake articles focused on the war in Ukraine.
They were mainly critical of Western support for Kyiv. But today, the campaign has expanded to the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Misleading articles have been spotted in French, but also in German, like a spoofed Spiegel website.
But there is a common theme: the suggestion that the financial support coming from Western powers has been diverted from Ukraine to Israel. And that Ukraine will soon lose all military and financial support from the West.
The proliferation of this false content online has attracted the attention of multiple social media users, who decided to come together and create a collective called Antibot4Navalny on social media.
The Internet vigilantes noticed the increase in the use of Russian bots to spread false narratives, mostly concerning the war between Israel-Hamas.
An analysis of the X accounts that share these spoofed websites shows that most of them were created in September and October 2023. They generally have no followers or followed accounts.
One recent example of disinformation pushed by these bots was when they massively shared photos of Stars of David graffiti on buildings across Paris.
According to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a Russian network associated with posting disinformation online was one of the first accounts to share the photos of the graffiti of the star of David.
Four people — including a Moldovan couple arrested beginning of November— are suspected of painting more than 250 blue Stars of David across the French capital, acts likely to fuel unrest in the country amid a surge in antisemitic acts since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, according to Politico.
When questioned by police, the Moldovan couple claimed to have acted on the orders of a Russian individual in exchange for money.
However, a direct link between this incident and the Doppelganger disinformation campaign has not yet been established.
Source: Euro News