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Middle East propaganda campaign dupes right-wing media outlets
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Middle East propaganda campaign dupes right-wing media outlets

Fake personas publish articles praising UAE while criticizing countries including Qatar

Tribune News Network
Fake personas have planted dozens of articles pushing Middle East propaganda on conservative American media outlets, an investigation by the Daily Beast has found.
According to the report, the articles generally praised the United Arab Emirates while pressing for a tougher stance on Qatar, Turkey and Iran.
Raphael Badani is one such fake persona, said the Daily Beast. 
“As a Newsmax ‘Insider’ columnist, he has thoughts about how Iraq needs to rid itself of Iranian influence to attract investment and why Dubai is an oasis of stability in a turbulent region,” the report said. 
Daily Beast said he has published insights in various outlets like the Washington Examiner, RealClear Markets, American Thinker and The National Interest.
“Unfortunately… Raphael Badani does not exist,” the report found. 
“His profile photos are stolen from the blog of an unwitting San Diego startup founder. His LinkedIn profile, which described him as a graduate of George Washington and Georgetown, is equally fictitious.
Badani is part of a network of at least 19 fake personas that has spent the past year placing more than 90 opinion pieces in 46 different publications, Daily Beast said.
Following the report, Twitter on Monday suspended 16 accounts discovered to be part of a network of fake personas spreading propaganda about Middle East countries. The accounts were suspended for violating the social media company's platform manipulation policy, the social media platform said.
"Using technology, human review and partnerships with researchers and other independent organizations studying these issues, we work to identify platform manipulation on our service and take action," a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement. "As is standard, if we have reasonable evidence to attribute any activity to a state-backed information operation, we'll disclose them -- following thorough investigation -- to our public archive."

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