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Facebook Hustles: The Belgian spin-off


On 22 June, CheckFirst published their latest investigation uncovering a massive scam involving 1500+ Facebook ads luring users to over 160 domains hosting fake media sites. The websites would redirect visitors to a form pretending to collect personal information to join a fictional investment platform. Pushing a get-rich-quick scheme, scammers used social engineering techniques to gain control of hundreds of content creators’ Facebook pages that collectively reached over 10 million users. 

This research employs data provided by CheckFirst to EU DisinfoLab and EDMO Belux to focus on the Belgian case. Belgium is one of the countries involved in the deceptive campaign, which impersonates six news media organisations, including Le Soir and De Standaard. The ads and misleading articles targeted the Belgian public, conveying false testimonies by national political figures such as Elio di Rupo and Alexander De Croo.

The study presents how the deception targeted Belgian outlets, politicians, and audiences. Consequently, actions that can be taken are provided, considering the framework of the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Belgian legislation.

Read the study here.