Fake news and the Kontacto troll army

November 4, 2019

Kontacto is an application developed by Trans Life, a contractor of the municipality of Pereira to support the “Mas Cambio” political coalition for the elections of October 2019.

The application, using a multi-level marketing schema, registered more than 54.000 people to campaign for Carlos Maya including contractors and public officers of the municipality.

The first details of the case were made public the 18th October in a Radio interview in Caracol Radio in which Luis Carlos Rúa leaked a phone conversation with the major Juan Pablo Gallo as he was pressing him to add contacts to the application.

The 22nd of October 2019, we received a report that a Facebook post was reporting that Luis Carlos Rúa, the person behind the leak of Kontacto App, was supporting candidate “Salazar” instead of “Maya”.

A backup of the post is available here

It was not difficult to understand that old pictures from his social media account were taken so as to suggest that he was participating in a political event.

Immediately after the posting, William Tamayo who is registered in Kontacto as “Receptor” from the Boston neighborhood in Pereira starts the support comments, including the text “Here it is your team (EQUIPO)” as referred inside Kontacto.

Who wrote the fake article?

The article was written by “Alejandro Diaz” with Facebook ID 10003674132032 created in May 2019 with the only purpose of campaigning in favor of Gallo/Maya in Pereira.

Who is supporting this Viral Fake News Campaigns?

We looked into the 144 comments associated to his posting and more that 50 publications from Alejandro Diaz.

We extracted 129 accounts associated to the comments and found that the majority of them have these properties

  • Created recently in May-June 2019
  • Old accounts with no activity until May 2019
  • Very little or no personal activity
  • Very few personal pictures
  • Most content refers to the political campaign
  • Most of the accounts do not allow the “Follow” option
  • Very few publications
  • Often re-share articles that are later deleted

Is this a troll army? Is this the EQUIPO?

“Admviral” and facebook fake news

While reviewing all the Facebook postings and comments, we had two interesting findings:

  • Some public officers linked to Kontacto are interacting with Alejandro Diaz and participating in the “Viral Campaigns” launched by “Alejandro Diaz”.
  • One of the friends of “Alejandro Diaz” is “Diego Mauricio Orrego Otalora”.

That Diego Orrego is a friend of Alejandro Diaz becomes relevant as he is registered in Kontacto as the “Adm viral“as follows:

2675 | Admviral | Diego Mauricio Orrego Otalora  | 10029185 | 3117472152 

To verify the findings we confirmed that the telephone number inside Kontacto “3117472152” matches his public bio

Is Diego our troll master?

The Viral Group

Inside Kontacto, twelve people are part of the “Viral Group” coordinated by Diego Orrego. A quick review of the people classified as “Viral” in the database shows that at least three of them are working in the municipality in the “Secretary for economical development and competitivity”.

More than 3500 people have been included in Kontacto suggested by the “Viral Group”