The EU disinformation trends mirrored in our country

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Recently, similar disinformation has been circulating both in EU member states and in our country. Most of the April fact-checks in our country and the EU referred to disinformation related to the EU and the war that Russia is fighting in Ukraine. In our case, unlike in the EU, in third place are debunked advertisements i.e., fraudulent information relating to an allegedly “very effective medicine”, including manipulations linked to Macedonia’s elections 


Author: Simona Atanasova 


The European Network for Fighting Disinformation EDMO, which includes 36 organizations, published its latest report on disinformation shared within the EU member states last April. The report shows that from the analysis of 1,716 fact-checked articles, 167 (10 percent) were about disinformation focused on Ukraine; 185 (11 percent) were climate change-related disinformation; 188 (11 percent) were disinformation related to the EU; 169 (10 percent) was about the conflict between Israel and Hamas; 100 (6 percent) on Covid-19 related disinformation; 87 (5 percent) was immigration-related disinformation; and 37 (2 percent) was disinformation connected with the LGBTQ+ and the gender-related issues. 

EDMO reveals that in April, the disinformation related to the EU reached its highest level since the beginning of the monitoring period in May 2023. In this interval, the untrue posts about Ukraine decreased a little, but EDMO concludes that its influence remained high, and the circulation was large. The disinformation about the war in the Middle East almost tripled compared to March due to the exchange of attacks between Israel and Iran. In addition, the disinformation related to the pandemic also increased. 

Ukraine and the EU – disinformation topics in the country as well 

The situation with disinformation spreading through social networks and media outlets in Macedonia is similar. Most of Truthmeter’s articles in April referred to the war that Russia was fighting in Ukraine, followed by the EU-related disinformation. In third place were articles debunking fake advertisements or fraudulent information about allegedly “very effective medicine”, and some information was about manipulations related to the elections in Macedonia. 

EDMO discloses that the fake narrative about the participation of the EU or its member states in ground operations in Ukraine spread last April. It was falsely claimed that French troops had arrived in Ukraine, that EU reservists and citizens were called and sent to the battlefield, that military officers and fighters from the EU member states were already killed on the territory of the attacked nation, that the EU member states were sending forbidden weapons to the Ukrainian Army or, in a more general sense, that mobilization preparations were ongoing. 

Such disinformation was dominant in our media landscape as well. A post was fact-checked for falsely claiming that French troops had arrived in Ukraine or that 100 fighters of the French Foreign Legion were transferred to Slavyansk, in the Donetsk People’s Republic. A false claim was also the statement that donations of the Macedonian government for Ukraine emptied our Army.  

EDMO’s analysis reveals that the fake stories last April focused on the attacks of the Ukrainians on a moral level, for example, by saying that its government was trafficking children and selling them to pedophiles in the West. The posts attacking Ukrainian morale were also present in North Macedonia. It was falsely claimed that the Russians destroyed the Ukrainian Army, with the entire armament and the entire weaponry collected from the West and other countries, that Zelenskyy pushed Ukraine into war, but also a lie was shared that Ukraine mobilized people with Down Syndrome. Other disinformation, apart from the war, was also shared, addressing the morale in Ukraine such as the disinformation that Ukraine sold out its Orthodox faith. 

The fake story about Ukrainian President Zelenskyy buying a mansion from the British royal family was one of the most circulated fake contents in the EU last April, according to the EDMO report. This disinformation reached our country as well and started circulating exclusively from pro-Kremlin profiles and social network accounts. Ukraine was also accused of standing behind the terrorist attack in Moscow that occurred on the 22nd of March in the concert hall “Crocus”. The attack was allegedly performed together with the United Kingdom and the USA. 

EU-enlargement related disinformation 

Regarding the disinformation circulating in our country and targeting the EU and its member states, we emphasize the fabrication that Germany did not recognize the Macedonian language, as well as the invented statement of the European Commission head, Ursula von der Leyen that the EU will not enlarge in the next 15 years and that, supposedly, North Macedonia had to meet new requirements. Similarly, EU enlargement-related disinformation was shared targeting France. On the 15th of April 2024, information was shared that the French Parliament adopted a Resolution to stop the European Union enlargement process and that French President Emmanuel Macron had stated that ”North Macedonia had to be told that there will be no enlargement before 2040”. Both pieces of information are untrue. 

The EDMO report noted that the increase in climate change disinformation was mainly due to the usual unresponsiveness and the fake posts presenting global warming solutions as inefficient, foolish, and dangerous. In the same area, the situation in North Macedonia is similar. There were posts last April claiming the existence of chemtrails and that plane trails were used in the fight against climate change. 

As in the EU, in our country as well a significant development of pandemic-related fake news was not noted, but posts about the side effects of vaccines continued, including the sharing of disinformation about an athlete dying because he was vaccinated. 

Last April in our country several untruths were identified on social networks that directly or indirectly referred to both election rounds. The first round of the Presidential elections took place in April and part of the campaign for the Parliamentary elections also took place then. 

Unlike in the EU, in our country, last April noted an increased number of fraudulent stories or fake advertisements offering various remedies, falsely presented as medicine for severe health conditions.