Disinformation campaign against 2024 Olympics Host Role: France accuses Azerbaijan

Paris has accused individuals connected to Azerbaijan of orchestrating an extensive disinformation campaign aimed at discrediting France as the host of the 2024 Olympic Games. According to Viginum’s detailed report, the investigation commenced on July 26 when several visuals calling for the boycott of the Olympics were widely shared on the X platform (formerly Twitter).

These accusations come amidst diplomatic tensions between Paris and Baku, heightened by France’s recent involvement in mediating between Azerbaijan and Armenia, two nations in conflict for three decades.

Favorable positions towards Armenia have drawn criticism from Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

The incriminated posts, featuring images of riots and Paris, included the Olympics logo, official accounts of the 2024 Olympics on X, and hashtags #PARIS2024 and #BOYCOTTPARIS2024, according to Viginum’s report.

Between July 26 and 27, over 1,600 publications containing these visuals or hashtags were documented, involving 91 accounts.

Viginum suggests artificial amplification, highlighting that 40 of these accounts were created in July 2023, exclusively posting content calling for a boycott.

The investigation revealed inauthentic features on these accounts, with some showing links to Azerbaijan.

Indicators such as photos with the Azerbaijani flag, a declared location in Azerbaijan, Azerbaijani characters, or the promotion of videos and excerpts of speeches by the Azerbaijani president were identified.

Markers of inauthenticity were also noted, including spelling mistakes in the location when accounts claimed to be in France, suggesting a literal translation from Azerbaijani to French (e.g., “Bordo” for Bordeaux).

The account @MuxtarYev, created in June 2023 and claiming to be located in Azerbaijan, played a central role by publishing 15 visuals calling for a boycott, relayed and amplified by other inauthentic accounts, some linked to Azerbaijan.

The account shares similarities with the identity of the president of the Sabail district organization of the New Azerbaijan Party.

A video hostile to the Olympics, published by the account @NewYorkInsider, a fake media outlet, has been viewed millions of times, reinforcing the notion of a deliberate intention to harm France’s image, according to Viginum.

Other domain names related to “newyorkinsider” were identified, hosted on the same server as a site promoting Orkhan Rzayev, an Azerbaijani national heading two companies specializing in video games and digital marketing.

In conclusion, Viginum believes that the “Olimpiya” campaign, aimed at discrediting the Olympics, poses a threat to the fundamental interests of the nation.

The organization anticipates further similar campaigns targeting the Olympic Games.

Source: 20minutes.fr

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