The Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah is using “fake news training camps” in order to spread disinformation and instability across the region, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph.
The report published on Sunday claims that Hezbollah has been recruiting thousands of social media activists to use fake accounts, creating “electronic armies”. The newspaper states that since 2012, the movement has flown individuals from across the Arab world to Lebanon in order to take part in courses designed to teach them how to “digitally manipulate photographs, manage large numbers of fake social media accounts, make videos, avoid Facebook’s censorship, and effectively spread disinformation online”.
Once trained, the report alleges that activists are then sent onto other neighbouring countries to pass on their skills to others, particularly in Iraq, where the Iranian-supported Hezbollah Brigades operate.
One unnamed source currently working with an Iraqi political party is quoted as saying “the people we sent developed their skills in Beirut and when they came back they started training activists inside Iraq.”
It is suggested that the development is evidence of Iran seeking to spread its soft power in the region through Hezbollah which is allied with Tehran and also forms part of the Lebanese government.