Disinformation Watch #1: Fake Facebook account behind unsubstantiated attacks on opposition MP

The Labour Party associated daily newspaper L-Orizzont ran a front page on Saturday on rumours made about opposition MP Jason Azzopardi from a fake Facebook account that plays an important role in the Labour Party’s hate machine.

This very same Facebook profile using the name of Matthew Borg has been used to spread rumours about the government’s perceived enemies including the family of slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, MEP David Casa as well as businesses that are thought to support organisations calling for justice for Caruana Galizia.

Smear campaigns are launched through the fake account and then shared in Labour hate groups by the administrators, many of whom are government and Labour Party officials, implying that the fake account forms part of a coordinated system to fabricate and disseminate rumours about government critics.

The unsubstantiated and unverifiable rumours made through the Facebook account against Azzopardi were quickly picked up by L-Orizzont – the newspaper of the General Workers Union, which is closely linked to the Labour Party – as a first step to entering mainstream media channels.

The daily ran the front page despite being fully aware the Facebook account is fake and despite having been unable to verify the rumours.

L-Orizzont online editor Pierre Pulis then shared his daily’s coverage across the same Labour hate groups.

The front pages of Malta’s printed newspapers are discussed daily on most Maltese television and radio stations, exposing the rumours against Azzopardi to a large segment of the population and so exacerbating the damage.

Azzopardi, a frequent and long-running target of Labour’s hate groups, is one of the most vocal critics of government corruption and is one of the lawyers representing the family of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Shortly after Azzopardi’s request that the Malta Police Force’s Cyber Crime Unit investigate the fake profile became known yesterday, and once the smear campaign against him made into the mainstream Labour media, the fake Facebook account deleted its post about Azzopardi.

This is the first episode in The Shift News Disinformation Watch, covering Labour’s campaign for the disappearance of objective truth.


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