Hungary’s Den of Trolls
The X platform (formerly Twitter) might not be the most popular platform in the CEE region, but posts regarding a European Parliament committee’s visit to Hungary in May 2023 gained attention nevertheless. An analysis revealed that the posts about the visit were targeted by suspected inauthentic accounts in an attempt to discredit any perceived opponent of the Hungarian ruling party. This highlights the platform’s lack of protections against inauthentic behavior, even before its renaming to X and its withdrawal from the EU Code of Practice on Disinformation.
A delegation from the European Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control (CONT) visited Hungary for three days (15-17 May 2023) to gather information about efforts to protect the EU budget in Hungary and issues related to the ongoing rule of law procedure. Upon the delegation’s arrival, a group of Fidesz Youth (Fidelitas) members awaited them with EU-branded suitcases filled with cash, referencing the Qatargate scandal. They used this display as “evidence” that the European Parliament should not have the right to investigate corruption.
The CONT committee recently discussed their report on the visit, which noted the prevalence of this and several other misleading narratives during those days. These ranged from allegations of Brussels blackmailing Hungary into taking a pro-war stance to personal attacks on the delegation members.
These attacks and misleading narratives were not limited to media outlets. A member of the EP delegation, Daniel Freund (Greens/EFA), is an outspoken critic of the Hungarian government, particularly in regard to its corruption and rule of law record. The MEP, who actively posted about the visit, garnered significant attention from both alleged Hungarian and foreign Twitter/X users. Their activities and profiles are somewhat suspicious, exhibiting characteristics commonly associated with “troll” accounts.
Continue reading the commentary at 4 Liberty.