Home Europe Lithuanian MEP funded disinformation portal: report

Lithuanian MEP funded disinformation portal: report

by editor

Viktor Uspaskichas, a non-attached Lithuanian lawmaker in the European Parliament, has financially supported the new social media platform 77.lt — home to many fake news and conspiracy theories about, for example, the coronavirus pandemic or Ukraine — according to an investigation from national broadcaster LRT.

The alternative news portal was launched in April to foster a “decentralized social platform that respects the privacy of its members, does not censor the diversity of opinions, and protects the importance of free speech” in a bid to “create a counterweight to the one-sided mass media.”

But the platform is mostly powered by fake profiles, LTR found. “Analysis shows they are not genuine profiles — their photos are usually generated by artificial intelligence and they share multiple posts simultaneously on their feeds,” it said.

The report also found that Uspaskichas, who is also the former leader of Lithuania’s Labour Party, and his former wife Jolanta Blažytė, an active user of the social network, have given more than €200,000 to Petys į Petį (“Shoulder to Shoulder”), the nonprofit that helps to “raise the funds needed to maintain the website,” through different legal entities over the last two year.

Uspaskichas declined to comment.

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