How Russian Media Networks are Seeking to Manipulate the Arabic Content on Twitter

This is the English version of a report that was published in Arabic on June 21st 2022. Since then most of the accounts mentioned in the report were suspended by Twitter.

Coinciding with the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on the 24th of last February, hundreds of Arabic-speaking accounts appeared on Twitter, which were created recently and joined with relatively old accounts.

All these new and relatively old accounts are implicated in promotion and publicity campaigns for Moscow. Alongside spreading false and deceptive information about the facts of the war that has been happening there for months, and with a quick look at the activities of these accounts, it seems that they are Russian networks that function as a part of a harmonized campaign that seeks to promote Moscow’s point of view.

It is striking to note that all these Arabic-speaking accounts which are supportive of Russia in their dealing with the war, embrace the highlighting of the narrative of “The Just War” and repeats Moscow’s narrative that “It is fighting a just war to defend its interests and the interests of poor countries, against Western countries that rule the world under the banner of the “New World Order”.

The war in Ukraine has placed Western countries, headed by the United States of America, in direct confrontation with Russia, after Washington and several other Western capitals executed a bunch of strict sanctions on Moscow.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has also influenced the flow of wheat supplies to the world, since Kyiv and Moscow are considered amongst the leading exporters of wheat in the world. This catastrophe has cast its shadows on poor countries, especially on the African continent, where the Russian presence has been outspreading for years, particularly in Sudan.

Most of the accounts subject to the investigation appear mainly under the title, Al-ahdath or “The events”. For example, there are accounts under the name “American Events”, “Chinese Events” and “Russian Events”. Moreover, there are other accounts with Russian names that involve people who are claiming to be Russian journalists, media personnel and diplomats.

The publishing approach practiced by these accounts is based on spreading false, fabricated or fragmented news, in what is done in many situations; That these different accounts post similar content, even though it is presumed that there is no objective connection between an account dealing with American news, and another dealing with Russian news, for example.

These accounts also publish news about Russian war and military equipment.