In June 2020, forces aligned with Libyan General Khalifa Haftar suffered further losses in Libya’s long civil war. As news broke that his Libyan National Army was withdrawing from Tarhuna, social media was immediately flooded with jingoistic propaganda. Accounts loyal to both the Government of National Accord in Libya—supported militarily by Turkey—and the Libya National Army—supported by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Russia—attempted to spin the dynamic events on the ground in their favor.
This near-immediate online propagandizing is nothing new in Libya or the Middle East. Propaganda and disinformation, particularly campaigns originating from state-backed entities, are long-standing features of the conflict. For instance, a recent report found evidence of coordinated online activity concerning Libya that dates as far back as 2013. As the conflict has evolved, so too have these foreign-backed information operations, reflecting shifting regional and international interests and alliances.