As Turkish forces invaded northern Syria in early October, supporters of the offensive launched a different kind of campaign — online.
Dozens of images claiming to show Turkey’s soldiers cuddling babies, feeding hungry toddlers and carrying elderly women spread across Twitter and Instagram where they were liked, retweeted and viewed thousands of times thanks also to popular hashtags.
Except some of the photos weren’t of Turkish soldiers. None of them were recent and some had been taken in parts of Syria unconnected to the invasion – even in other parts of the world.
The online campaign follows a pattern of social media propaganda that seeks to sway global opinion when controversial, international events erupt. In August, for instance, Twitter announced it had suspended more than 200,000 accounts thought to be run by Beijing to peddle propaganda targeting the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. YouTube soon followed, disabling more than 200 videos believed to be part of a coordinated, misinformation attack on the demonstrations.
Read more: AP