South Africa: New Report Details Russia's Online Meddling in South Africa

(File photo).
29 May 2024

Three prominent X (formerly known as Twitter) accounts are acting as bridges between an online Russian community and South African communities engaged in regular discussions of political and social issues.

This is according to a new report by the Centre for Analytics and Behavioural Change (CABC) and Murmur, a digital landscape tracking firm, has raised concerns about potential Russian influence in South Africa's online political sphere.

The report titled Russian Influence In South Africa: The Kremlin's in the System," identifies three prominent X accounts (@insightfactor, @mmodiba10, and @IOL) suspected of acting as "information bridges" between a Russian online community and communities that regularly interact on topics of political and social importance in South Africa. @mmodiba10, belonging to Vladimir Modiba, a former columnist for the Independent Online (IOL) publication and co-founder of The Insight Factor, appears to be a key link in this network.

CABC reports that "the bridge accounts, @insightfactor, and @mmodiba10, appear to be interacting predominantly between the Russian community and members of the MK Party community, which was previously the RET (Radical Economic Transformation) community."

The CABC conducted this research to analyze South African political discourse on X, the report explains, "focusing on the channels pro-Russian actors utilize to connect with these online communities. "

Read the full report here.

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