REPORT: Al-Marsad Exposes Dangerous Network Creating Fake Facebook Pages to Target Libyans – Al Marsad

Coinciding with the start of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) in Tunisia, a serpentine network of fake Facebook pages has resurfaced in the form of an organized network that aim to tarnish people’s reputation, particularly women, and target them to achieve malicious political goals.

(Libya, 11 November 2020) – Al-Marsad has tracked this network, whose activity has been on the rise recently. A shadowy network is behind a series of pages impersonating well-known political, media, military, and artistic figures and speaking falsely in their names within a specific and highly systematic slanted political and polemical framework.

These pages, which we believe bear the hallmarks of Muslim Brotherhood activities, fabricate lies and then propagate and share them from page to page. The administrators of these pages have also chosen figures from different political and social orientations to propagate malicious propaganda.

For example, a fake public page in the name of the journalist Hamza al-Tohami, with 92,000 followers, challenges supposed opponents, and then shares another post from another fake page managed by the same administrator, and so on from page to page.

This criminal network seems to be focusing their malicious targeting particularly against women, including, for example: Politician Ola al-Senussi, politician Hajar al-Qayed, Member of Parliament Sultana al-Mismari, Member of Parliament Sabah Juma, diplomat Salwa Eldaghili, Actress Ahlam al-Yamani, Actress Salwa al-Maqsabi, Captain Faraj Qaim, Member of Parliament Talal al-Maihoub, Member of Parliament Ziad Daghim, Benina International Airport, Emirates Center for Studies and Information, Dr. Fathia al-Oraibi, Tarhouna Displaced Persons Committee, Benina Airport and others. Also Rima al-Faitouri, Hamza al-Obaidi, and Sultana Abdurrahim who are fake figures.

Al-Marsad infographic on fake pages promoting false statements.

In total, nearly a million Libyans follow these pages, most of whom take these pages as real rather than “fake ghost pages”. The fake ghost pages are aimed at character assassination of the real figures whom they target morally, and even physically, by portraying them as morally decadent, or being against the Prophet, and so on.

In essence, it is a full-fledged and systematically-orchestrated crime that endangers the safety of Libyan citizens. It is a malicious network deliberately misleading their followers and the Facebook audience and inciting violence and potential assassinations against figures who are respected by the Libyan public.

We explain below, in pictures and with examples of posts, how the fake pages create, distort and lie in a way that indirectly serve the Muslim Brotherhood’s agenda:

Here, the forger falsely attributes a post to diplomat Salwa Eldaghili where it states that the Muslim Brotherhood was stronger:

Here, the forger is trying to show that Salwa Eldaghili is a supporter of France against Islam, in a way that suggests that Turkey is correct in its stance against France:

Then here comes the role of the fake page in the name of Abdulhakim Fannoush, husband of Salwa Eldaghili, to repeat the trivial idea about the Muslim Brotherhood’s control of the White House:

In another context, Fannoush’s fake page also published a post with an attached photo of his wife during her participation in the first LPDF session:

Then comes Hamza l-Tohami’s fake page that shares a post from Ola al-Senussi’s fake page on targeting Elham Saudi, a member of the LPDF:

Prior to this, the criminal team had published on the fake page called “Benina International Airport” a photo of Elham Saudi claiming she was an air hostess to belittle her and imply that a stewardess was discussing politics. However, she is not an air hostess but the head of the Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL) organisation:

Then Ziad Daghim‘s fake page shares the same news from the fake page in the name of Benina Airport on Elham al-Saudi, with a post containing indirect sexual connotations. Here the re-routing was made from the fake Benina Airport page that falsely claimed that Al-Saudi was a flight attendant:

 

We then come to the fake page of Hajar al-Qayed, which was called “What about the Constitution” and which supported the Muslim Brotherhood’s demand for a referendum before it changed to “Hajar al-Qayed”. It has six administrators, three of whom inside Libya, one from Switzerland, and two hide their locations:

As proof of the connection of these pages to the Muslim Brotherhood, and its Justice and Construction Party (JCP) in particular, the fake team claims that Hajar is an employee in France, which is true, and tries to suggest that she is seeking a salary that is not her right but that the “honest” Muslim Brotherhood’s Khaled Shakshak (the head of the Audit Bureau in Tripoli) stopped it. This is an indirect praise of Shakshak:

Hajar al-Qayed‘s fake page contains also a post suggesting that she was excluded by the Muslim Brotherhood  and implies they were heroes. Hamza al-Tohami‘s fake page then shares the same topic:

The targeting of Hajar al-Qayed is further amplified by Essa Abdel-Qayyoum‘s fake page, which publishes the same image with the phrase “defeater of the Muslim Brotherhood”. Essa’s fake page inaccurate statement on various topics to discredit his opinions:

Here is a post from yesterday on the fake page promoting the LPDF draft as valid, and at the same time showing the Muslim Brotherhood’s position as strong and dominant:

As for the fake Tarhouna Displaced Persons Committee page, it aims to spread the idea that the army has abandoned the “people of Tarhouna” and left them to beg for aid:

This post is then shared by the fake page of the Member of Parliament for Tarhouna Sabah Juma to give it credibility and mislead his real followers:

Tarnishing people’s honor is also among the goals of the fake news team. Here is a fake post one the fake page of the Member of Parliament Sabah Juma, claiming sexual violations against women in Cyrenaica to sow sedition between Tarhouna and the citizens of Cyrenaica, to imply that Sabah is defaming the honor of their women:

As for the fake page of Faraj Qaim, we find here that the fake news team trying to promote the Muslim Brotherhood’s narrative that the death of Major General Wanis Bukhamada was not “normal” and the involvement of the General cCommand in his death. It also promotes the idea that the assassinations are carried out by members of the army and not terrorist elements, which is the same false narrative adopted by the Muslim Brotherhood:

Here in this post from the fake page of Member of Parliament Talal al-Maihoub, the Muslim Brotherhood is trying to deny the news of their meeting with Chancellor Aguila Saleh, but indirectly through a fake post so that people believe that an MP close to Aguila denied the news. In the other post, they deliver a message that the Justice and Construction Party (JCP) has the credit for bringing Turkish military aid:

As for this post by a fictitious person called “Sultana Abdurrahim”, a figure used by the same group to promote again the Muslim Brotherhood’s Khaled Shakshak as the one credited with following up on corruption cases:

Fake “Sultana” tries to target the reputation of Al-Hadath TV presenter Ghada Borgo that she underwent a mastectomy after breast cancer in a way that suggests that it is a divine punishment for her support for the armed forces. Another post tarnishes the honor of women from Al-Barassa and Al-Hassa tribes for alleged rape:

Returning to Hamza al-Tohami‘s fake page, we find the criminal team recycling and sharing false news from fake “Sultana”s page, a story targeting Ahmed Maitiq after his recent disagreements with the Muslim Brotherhood:

An additonal fake post targets Ahmed Maitiq yet again, its timing coinciding with the start of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF), where the team claims, through two fake pages of Ziad Daghim and Essa Abdul-Qayyoum, that Maitiq was a candidate supported by the LNA General Command for the position of Prime Minister—a position in fact sought by Fathi Bashagha, the JCP’s candidate:


In this post, the criminal team searches for reasons to target the LPDF’s member Elham Saudi by sharing her photo and a post about her on the fake page of Ola Fathi al-Senussi and through the fake pages of artists Ahlam al-Yamani and Salwa al-Maqsabi:

There is also a fake account in the name of another fictitious character “Rima al-Faitouri”. Yesterday this account also posted against Hajar al-Qayed and Elham Saudi:

As for the following post on the fake page named “The Emirates Center for Studies and Media”, which is a fictitious entity directed to Libya by the fake news network, the forger tries to suggest that the Muslim Brotherhood group is the one defending the Prophet Muhammad and that the UAE does not like it. It suggests that the Muslim Brotherhood is right:

As proof of the connection of this fictitious center and this malicious network to the Justice and Construction Party (JCP), we find it here promoting JCP party member Amna Mutair as rejecting Israel as it tries to tarnish the demonstrators in Tripoli against poor living conditions and link them to the UAE:

Finally a post by the same fake Emirates Center for Studies and Media and says that Dr. Aref Ali Nayed seeks normalization between Tel Aviv and Benghazi, although he has not made any such statement.

The fake pages network was also active todays in various ways on the murder of lawyer Hanan Al-Barasi in Benghazi, including linking her with some of the participants in the LPDF and trying to implicate Dr. Naglaa Daghman with the perpetrators, claiming that she is a witness  and therefore in danger.

There were also allegation on the fake pages affiliated with the Shura Councils and the Muslim Brotherhood: A girl named Nour al-Zawy was found murdered in Benghazi after her kidnapping. But this was complete fabrication; the photo belongs to an Ethiopian citizen found killed in 2014 in Saudi Arabia.

Facebook shows that most of these fake pages operate from inside Libya, and some others are run from Turkey and Switzerland, where many members of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood and other nationalities are active.

© Al-Marsad English (2020)

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