On March 27, abcnews.com.ge published an article headlined “We are amazed by Georgia’s fight against the virus! Well done, share with us how you do it!” We read in the article, that Georgia is a leader in the fight with coronavirus, and the USA as well as Europe are surprised by Georgia’s immediate and right steps. The article is accompanied by a photo of Donald Trump. Worldnews.com.ge is cited as a source of information.
The manipulative headline of the article and a photo of Donald Trump give the readers a false impression that President of the United States of America asked Georgia to share its experience in the fight with coronavirus. However, no information in this regard has been found in the article. As soon as a reader visits worldnews.com.ge, cited as a source of information, one cannot find any information, since the web-page is “empty”.
Abcnews.com.ge is a hybrid of so-called “clickbait” and hidden sites. On the one hand, clickbait sites deliberately publish misleading, attention-grabbing headlines to make money by the number of clicks. On the other hand, noted site resorts to cloning and uses the name of famous American news outlet ABC news to mislead readers.
The owner of Abcnews.com.ge is Giorgi Melikidze, who also has links to timesnews.ge and newpost.com.ge, the clickbait cites spreading false information, that do not function currently.
According to Crowdtangle, as of April 1, the material published on abcnews.com.ge had more than 4700 interactions on Facebook, and was shared in the groups, such as “Kakha Kaladze Tbilisi Mayor”, “Have fun with us”, “Traditional medicine” and etc. The post has been shared in various groups mostly by user Ani Chonashvili.
On March 25, “Myth Detector” wrote about manipulation by Abcnews.com.ge regarding money allocated by Bidzina Ivanishvili for the health sector.
Prepared by Manya Zalalyan
Myth Detector Lab