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Escalation expected in informational assault tactics

Informational attacks emanating from foreign powers “will probably intensify” in Europe in the coming weeks, particularly in the run-up to the European elections in June, the head of French diplomacy, Stéphane Séjourné, warned on Tuesday. “Our continent votes in five months for the European elections and each of our countries will be a target for foreign powers,” warned the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, in a rare direct address to the population in the form of a video published on the social network X (formerly Twitter).

These comments come after France publicly denounced on Monday the existence of a “structured and coordinated” network of sites disseminating Russian propaganda in Europe and the United States, and presented as a new digital interference coming from Russia in a few weeks before the second anniversary of the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Called “Portal Kombat”, this network of 193 sites was brought to light after four months of work by Viginum, the French organization fighting against foreign digital interference. These sites, “mostly dormant, aim to spread fake news, points of view that serve Russia’s interests. They spread false information about Ukraine, divide our public opinions and also stir up hatred” , denounced Mr. Séjourné, adding to Internet users that this type of interference aims “to manipulate you”.

The French services are “fully mobilized to detect and counter these informational attacks, but I call for the greatest vigilance (…) In a democracy, information is the basis of everything. Let us not be deceived, let us not be not steal our democratic debate,” said the minister. Pro-Russian groups had already been singled out by Meta (parent company of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram) and the French authorities for their “Doppelgänger” campaign, which since 2022 has consisted of usurping the visual identity of media to spread fake news.

This article is originally published on cbnews.fr

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