Transparency International Georgia, a local human rights watchdog, has called on the Prosecutor’s Office to immediately launch an investigation in response to the statement made by Facebook on December 20.
In the statement released on December 23, Transparency International Georgia said that “Facebook has deleted hundreds of fake pages, groups and users caught out of coordinated unauthentic behavior, who were posting materials discrediting the non-governmental sector, Public Defender, opposition and various civic activists.”
The statement stresses that the signs of certain crimes can be observed in the actions standing behind these groups.
Transparency International Georgia supposes that the investigation should clarify whether:
- The persons standing behind fake groups were using illegal money for their activities;
- Budgetary funds were used illegally for promoting the activities of persons behind fake groups;
- The persons behind fake groups were acting with the help of public servants or other officials;
- The actions carried out by the persons behind fake groups involved humiliating or degrading treatment;
- The activities of fake groups were accompanied by obtaining, storing, using or spreading of personal secrets;
- The actions of persons behind fake groups contained public calls for violent actions to incite a discord between the groups on racial, religious, national, local, ethnic, social, political, language and/or grounds.
The organization claims that the State Audit Office should also show interest towards the issue and investigate whether the activities of “discrediting groups” represented “illegal donations” carried out in favor of a concrete political force.
The opposition also stressed the need for launching the investigation; however, the Prosecutor’s Office told Civil.ge today that it does not plan to launch investigation into the issue.
He said, the Page admins and account owners typically posted about domestic news and political issues such as elections, government policies, public officials, criticism of the opposition and local activist organizations.