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Inside the Shadowy World of Disinformation for Hire in Kenya

Written by non-profit Mozilla Foundation, the report shows how shadowy financers have deployed an army of Twitter influencers to co-ordinate disinformation campaigns in favour of a government-backed constitution amendment bill, known as the Building Bridges Initiative. According to the research conducted between May and June 2021, they were paid to directly harass and discredit journalists, judges and civil activists on Twitter. The research showed the disinformation business to be lucrative, with influencers for political hire paid roughly between $10 and $15 to participate in three campaigns per day. Some influencers managed to reach retainer level and were paid about $250 per month. Payments were made directly to their phones through the mobile money platform M-Pesa. Influencers interviewed refused to reveal who was paying them, but one told the researchers that sometimes the money came before the campaign and sometimes afterwards.