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A Tehran-based agency has quietly fed propaganda through at least 70 websites to countries from Afghanistan to Russia, write Jack Stubbs and Christopher Bing for Reuters. And American firms have helped.
Website Nile Net Online promises Egyptians “true news” from its offices in the heart of Cairo’s Tahrir Square, “to expand the scope of freedom of expression in the Arab world.”
Its views on America do not chime with those of Egypt’s state media, which celebrate Donald Trump’s warm relations with Cairo. In one recent article, Nile Net Online derided the American president as a “low-level theatre actor” who “turned America into a laughing stock” after he attacked Iran in a speech at the United Nations.
Until recently, Nile Net Online had more than 115,000 page-followers across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But its contact telephone numbers, including one listed as 0123456789, don’t work. A Facebook map showing its location dropped a pin onto the middle of the street, rather than any building. And regulars at the square, including a newspaper stallholder and a policeman, say they have never heard of the website.
The reason: Nile Net Online is part of an influence operation based in Tehran.
Read the full special report from Reuters