September 7, 2022 | Newsweek

Information operations use the oldest trick in the book: attractive women

Newsweek has featured findings from Moustafa Ayad’s research published in Propaganda Primping: The ‘Kremlinistas’ of Twitter. Through the use of photos plucked from the Instagram accounts of beauty influencers, a series of Twitter accounts posing as attractive women linked to the Kremlin have been spreading disinformation among the Arabic-speaking world.

Male audiences “eat up” the content, which consists of thirst traps and state-backed propaganda. One account with the name ‘Elena Kosogorov’, with 110,600 followers, tweeted “a lot of countries don’t want to take orders from ‘Uncle Sam’”. The reply section was filled with comments from primarily Yemeni separatist accounts advocating for southern independence, aligning with support for the Kremlin.

“The pro-Kremlin women of Arabic-speaking Twitter are not just shilling for the state, they are also primping propaganda,” Moustafa said.