The Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr. Stéphane Séjourné, announced today the detection by France of a propaganda network, called “Portal Kombat”. In order to deceive European public opinion, particularly French public opinion, this network, made up of so-called digital information portals, broadcasts pro-Russian content promoting the Russian invasion in Ukraine and denigrating the Ukrainian authorities.
The detection and analysis work carried out by the VIGINUM service made it possible to conclude that the activities of this network do indeed constitute a campaign of manipulation of information on digital platforms involving foreign actors and that this campaign aims to harm the France and its interests. Made up of at least 193 sites and initially covering news from Russian and Ukrainian localities, this network has developed since the war of Russian aggression in Ukraine in February 2022 and then focused on the occupied Ukrainian territories and support from Ukraine – including France, Germany and Poland. To amplify the manipulation by reaching a wider audience, this network uses a number of techniques such as the selection of pro-Russian propaganda sources based on the targeted locality, massive automation of content distribution and optimization SEO on search engines. The technical elements which enabled the French authorities to reach these conclusions are available in the technical report published today by VIGINUM.
France strongly condemns these hostile informational maneuvers. We also recall that no attempt at manipulation will distract France from the support it provides to Ukraine in the face of the Russian war of aggression.
As announced by the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs alongside his German and Polish counterparts, France will strengthen cooperation with its partners in the Weimar Triangle and more generally within the European Union. To protect French and European citizens, we will continue to unmask informational maneuvers wherever they come from and will continue our efforts to defeat attempts at manipulation of Russian origin.
State services have detected an attempted large-scale information attack.
I wanted to speak directly to you to call on you to be vigilant. Our democratic debate must be preserved. Reliable information is the basis of everything. pic.twitter.com/WFiPrtg5zN
— Stéphane Séjourné (@steph_sejourne) February 13, 2024