Skip to main content
Algeria: The Bots Government

Algeria: The Bots Government

The Algerian government use of bots and fake news to attack opposition groups on social media is a fact and a state doctrine, Facebook had taken down multiple accounts linked to the Algerian Intelligence for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior, which included the use of bots to manipulate online discourse.


In September 2019, Facebook announced that it had removed a network of 188 Facebook pages, groups, and accounts with links to the Algerian government that were found to be involved in "coordinated inauthentic behavior" targeting the Algerian opposition, independent media, Morocco on Western Sahara issue and other countries in the region. According to Facebook, the network was engaged in a range of activities including the use of fake accounts and amplification through the use of bots.


Similarly, in March 2020, Facebook removed another network of 12 Facebook pages, 4 groups, and 4 Instagram accounts linked to the Algerian government that were found to be involved in targeting domestic audiences. According to Facebook, the network was engaged in spreading pro-government propaganda and attacking political opposition and civil society activists.


Always on Facebook, in June 2021, the company detected a network of 130 accounts, 221 Pages, 35 Groups, and 29 Instagram accounts linked to the government in Algeria, including some who worked for the 2019 campaign of the current President Abdelamjid Tebboune. According to Facebook those Pages were masquerading as news entities and pose as Moroccan and Algerian nationals, as well as members of Kabyle movement. Some of the accounts used stock photos of young women as profile pictures. Some of the Pages purported to represent the Algerian opposition. They posted personal photos and information of family members of opposition leaders and journalists, allegedly obtained through hacking. They also posted screen recordings claiming to show the compromising of dissidents’ devices and online accounts.


They also posted in Arabic about news and current events in the region, including rumors of the death of the Moroccan king; supportive commentary about the Algerian military; and critical comments about ethnic minorities, opposition, journalists, and dissidents in Algeria and those living abroad.


These despicable behaviors were not limited to Facebook, but also spread to Twitter, between 2019 and 2021, Twitter suspended a network of fake accounts linked to the Algerian government for violating its policies on platform manipulation. According to Twitter, a network of over 7,000 accounts was used to amplify pro-government content and attack the political opposition, independent media, Hirak activists and pro polisario rhetoric in Western Sahara.


While the use of bots and misinformation on social media is not unique to the Algerian government, but using it in such an intense and dangerous manner is a violation of human rights and a hinder of freedom of speech, it is undermining the democracy in Algeria and poisoning the geopolitical atmosphere in the region, which is already tense and on the verge of collapse.


Add new comment

Restricted HTML