Serbian trolls engage in criticizing users who discuss the Serbia-Kosovo crisis online.

by Cristian Florescu

Journalists and analysts from various nationalities have encountered online threats, abuse, and harassment while sharing content about the Serbia-Kosovo crisis. The majority of these attacks seem to originate from troll accounts suspected to have government affiliations

In early July 2023, a Google Document allegedly containing the names of nearly 15,000 individuals who are believed to engage in online trolling, along with their Twitter handles, was inadvertently made available to the public. Upon investigation, EURACTIV found that more than half of the 30 names they examined were reportedly employed by the government on other social media platforms and in online records.

A freelance journalist from The Netherlands shared that they encounter criticism from Twitter accounts with strong Serbian nationalist leanings while reporting on recent developments in Kosovo and Serbia.

The journalist determined that they frequently mute numerous threads to prevent notifications, but when the topic of north Kosovo arises, it elicits a considerable amount of comments and verbal threats.

In 2017, DW published an investigative report on supposed troll farms reportedly associated with the ruling party. During that period, Aleksander Vucic, who is currently serving as the President, held the position of prime minister.

The whistleblower mentioned a group of individuals who are civil servants and work in shifts to monitor social media platforms, express support for the government, and criticize its opponents.

Furthermore, in 2020, Twitter took the step of suspending approximately 8,558 accounts that were found to be promoting the ruling party. Similarly, Meta also enforced suspensions on 5,374 accounts and 12 Facebook Groups engaging in comparable actions. Moreover, Meta disclosed that SNS allocated a substantial amount of over $150,000 solely for advertising purposes on Facebook and Instagram in 2022.

However, journalists reporting on the region have started to feel anxious about sharing their articles on Twitter.

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