French intelligence suspects that the bed bug panic in Paris has been fueled by Russian trolls. According to experts who spoke to French RMC radio, these trolls used fake articles that resembled those written by reputable French newspapers to spread panic about bed bugs on social media. The French news agency AFP has identified two such fake articles, as reported by the Telegraph.
An article, similar to those published in the regional paper La Montagne, alleged that the use of effective insecticides to eradicate bed bugs was violating the embargo on Russian chemicals. However, La Montagne denied ever publishing such an article and referred to it as a ‘forgery’. Furthermore, AFP clarified that bed bugs have been a problem in France for a longer period than the sanctions against Russia have been in effect.
The second fabricated article, allegedly authored by the Left-leaning French newspaper Libération, was disseminated through Telegram accounts associated with Russia Today, a media outlet owned by the Russian government. The article falsely asserted that the increase in bed bug infestations was a result of Ukrainian refugees. Furthermore, this misinformation was also propagated by a deceptive page posing as the conservative daily Le Figaro.
Intelligence experts from RMC have indicated that Russia is not believed to be the instigator of the bed bugs panic in Paris. Instead, they suggest that Russia has taken advantage of the growing fear surrounding bed bugs, which has been widely shared on social media platforms.