Azerbaijan Domestic Disinformation

From ADTAC Disinformation Inventory

Media Overview

According to the World bank 80% of individuals in Azerbaijan have access to the internet.[1]Most of the traditional media in Azerbaijan is state owned, the press is heavily restricted. Azerbaijan was ranked 168 out of 180 countries in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index.[2]

2020 Troll Factory Shutdown

October 8th 2020 Facebook has removed over 1,000 accounts as well as nearly 8,000 pages which were linked to the Youth Union of the ruling New Azerbaijani Party. The accounts and pages criticized opposition figures and independent international and local media and promoted the New Azerbaijani Party.[3]

Disinformation during the 2020 Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict

During the Armenian and Azerbaijan conflict in 2020 disinformation in the form of doctored photos or old footage was highly prevalent. There were also attempts to amplify political posts and hashtags.[4] Twitter actively deleted many of these posts as they emerged.[5] The 44-day-long conflict saw a total of 33 instances of misinformation that went viral, mostly through eight different social media platforms and 28 websites. About 46% of the misinformation was spread through Twitter, which is followed by Facebook with 24% and Instagram with 17%. Telegram, a texting application that is quite popular in Azerbaijan and Armenia, enabled the spread of only 3% of the misinformation, yet had a 14% share of the overall interaction by itself, showing the power of the platform in reaching people. [6]

The 28 websites that have taken part in the spread of the misinformation have done so by making fake news based on fake data. The number of daily visitors to these websites sharing fake news is determined as 27,936,730. This number is more than double the number of the populations of Azerbaijan and Armenia combined.[7] The misinformation was shared in eight different languages, including Azerbaijani Turkish, Armenian, Russian and Turkish, indicating the intent of reaching a wide, ethnically diverse population in the region.