What fakes talk about: How President Jeenbekov was protected in Instagram

Country/area: Kyrgyzstan

Organisation: Kloop.kg

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 12 Sep 2020

Credit: Aziza Raimberdieva, Alexey Zhuravlev

Project description:

After “Black July”, when kyrgyz hospitals were overcrowded and thousands people died daily from COVID-19, a journalist Raushan Aitkulova filed a complaint against president Sooronbay Jeenbekov to the prosecutor’s office and created online petition for his impeachment on Change.org (which consequently had been blocked). Later on fakes appeared in kyrgyz Instagram accounts, defended Jeenbekov and insulted the journalist, urging not to believe her. 

After parliamentary elections and unstable political situation in October 2020, president Jeenbekov has left his post. 

Our main focus was about Instagram fakes, so we made our story designed as Instagram-stories.

Impact reached:

Although there was no huge impact (during one month Jeenbekov resigned due to political instability after the parliamentary elections), the audience of Kloop.kg learned better about the fakes and the scale of the problem. After our story, there were several more journalistic investigations about troll factories in Kyrgyzstan.

This story has one of the highest rates of average time of reading (due to Google analytics): 8 minutes 20 seconds (while average for all the stories by Kloop.kg is 3 mins 36 seconds).

Techniques/technologies used:

Our programmers wrote a script that scrapped Instagram accounts of Kyrgyz media. After that, the programmers filtered out the comments of accounts, which we suspected of being fake, and the journalists manually checked all comments and marked them by topics.

What was the hardest part of this project?

1. Instagram is difficult to scrap, we were constantly banned;
2. Share a large amount of important information through a short and entertaining “stories” format 

What can others learn from this project?

Other journalists may take inspiration from an unusual storytelling and consider how to present their complex investigations in another more “entertaining” way 

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