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Latest mInfo News
Oct 9, 2022
October 9, 2022 He doesn’t deny “Bots”, but says he didn’t buy it In the first days of April, the world’s attention was captured by the images of the Bucha massacre. The brutality of the Russian army, the bodies of civilians lying in the streets – a topic that attracted the attention of the world media. The Minfo portal managed by M. Gabrilavičius focused on a different picture. Shortly after the images of the Bucha massacre shocked the world, a low-quality video in Russian appeared on Minfo’s Facebook account, in which a character known to little (at least in Lithuania) talks about how the war is just a fight for economic influence, and everything is controlled by an invisible hand . The post published with the single word “for thought…” gained enormous popularity – several million views, about 70 thousand. shares, several thousand comments. What’s so special about this video? Nothing but the audience. Viktoras Daukšas, the head of the analytical center “Debunk EU” himself analyzed Minfo’s post that received a wave of popularity and came to the unequivocal conclusion that the fantastic numbers were artificially generated using a “bot” farm. “It is a technique of manipulating social media algorithms, when bot farms are used. Some come to “like”, other “bots” comment, they often comment even in different directions. (…) In this way, the algorithm is manipulated, Facebook then thinks that it is here viral content and then amplifies it,” V. Daukšas told “Siena”. According to the interviewer, the purpose of using “bots” is to cast doubt on Russia’s war against Ukraine, specifically in the context of the Butchi massacre. “Here is an obvious operation – to create a smoke screen,” continued V. Daukšas. The owner of the portal himself does not deny that the popularity of the post was generated by a “bot” farm. However, M. Gabrilavičius claims that the services of the “bots” were ordered by someone other than him. “I found such a video on Facebook, with a clever idea. I also shared through the page. And “attracted” that this is already some kind of attack, M. Gabrilavičius told “Siena”. – I don’t know, maybe someone else was hired, but it’s not mine. Those “bots” are bought both on one side and on the other. I didn’t buy them there myself. Maybe someone saw it, just bought it as a favorable post for someone.” Immediately after the “March of Families” – a luxurious “Mercedes” M. Gabrilavičius spends a lot of money on advertising in social networks. Among his paid content were numerous posts related in one way or another to last year’s March for the Family. “He was even listed as one of the organizers. (…) Minfo.lt was official [renginio] sponsor, – he recalled investigation into last year’s riots journalist Jurgita Čeponytė of the LRT Research Department. – There was a lot of advertising from his accounts. (…) He spent a lot of money to promote either the event itself or various messages that would make people resent the government and want to come to that event.” The main publicly known source of M. Gabrilavičius’s income is the non-profit organization, the public institution “Maximalistic Psychotherapy Society”, which manages the Minfo portal and offers “coding” services against alcoholism. It was this institution that acquired a six-figure Mercedes right after the “March of Families” that took place last May. According to the data provided to “Siena” by “Regitra”, the “Mercedes-Benz GLE 400D 4Matic” worth approximately one hundred thousand euros was registered on behalf of a non-profit organization on May 27 last year, about a couple of weeks after the “March of Families”. This property helped the organization of the “maximalite” to survive with very good financial results – although the public institution itself complained of not being able to receive income. A very bad year with very good results The Maximalist Psychotherapy Society offers addiction “coding” services. It is they, not Minfo, that are the main source of the institution’s income. At least that’s what M. Gabrilavičius himself says. Like many businesses and organizations, the Maximalist Psychotherapy Society faced difficulties in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the global quarantine. “The government banned the physical service of visitors and banned the organization of events and gatherings in open and closed spaces. As long as this ban is in effect, the institution cannot carry out its activities, the institution does not earn income”, it is written in 2020. in the first half of the registered documents of the public institution. And although the bans mentioned here were in effect for a long time, the institution earned income – and a lot of it. “Maximalistic Psychotherapy Society” has been providing “coding” services for alcohol and other addictions since 2015. However, a sharp increase in the institution’s income has been observed since 2018. – when the Minfo portal started operating. in 2019 the institution’s income exceeded 198 thousand. euros. In 2020, during the promised paralysis of activity, they fell by just a few thousand – to 194 thousand. euros. It was the money collected during 2019 and 2020 that allowed the non-profit organization to purchase a six-figure Mercedes marked with the registration number S0BER. Previously, this number was used for a several times cheaper VW Passat, also registered in the name of a public institution. Laurynas Boguševičius, head of the car trade company “Deals on Wheels”, notes that non-profit organizations with a few employees usually do not buy cars of this value. It is said that such a purchase is usually decided by businesses with millions of turnovers and a large workforce. “The company’s activities and its vehicles should somehow correlate with each other. I know for a fact that there are much more successful, much larger companies in Lithuania, which are far from using such machines,” said L. Boguševičius to “Siena”. Žygimanto Gedvilas/BNS photo/Laurynas Boguševičius VMI has already paid According to the “Maximilian” himself, he was deliberately looking for the most luxurious car possible. It is said that this is how sobriety is advertised, especially for young people. Exactly how the luxury Mercedes is used for the institution’s purposes is unclear. However, it is known that M. Gabrilavičius also used the SUV when filming his underage daughter’s song clip, which received controversial reviews. The State Tax Inspectorate (VMI) takes the position that the use of the institution’s property for personal purposes is possible, but then the user of the property must also pay the appropriate amount of income tax. “If such cars are used not only for company purposes, (…) it is mandatory to calculate the income in kind,” said Martynas Endrijaitis, deputy head of VMI, to “Siena”. Žygimantas Gedvilas/BNS photo/VMI According to him, in such cases, the user of the car is subject to income tax based on the value of the vehicle. A couple of days after the conversation with one of the managers of VMI, we also talked with M. Gabrilavičius. He confirmed that he had already received the attention of VMI. “I already had a request from VMI. (…) Now I already pay the fee as for private use”, admitted the owner of Minfo. From Palecki to “international” students The Minfo portal has recently been openly supporting the “International Good Neighbor Forum”, which was established by Algirdas Paleckis, a politician convicted of espionage, together with his colleagues. He was able to establish the organization while he was in prison. Minfo actively shares videos with pro-Kremlin statements by the founders of the “forum”. “Forum” leader Erika Švenčionienė was announced by Minfo as the winner of Minfo’s “most useful person to society” election. The “Forum” was founded by five people immediately after A. Paleckis was imprisoned – A. Paleckis himself, E. Švenčionienė, Mindaugas Ramoška and two veterans of spreading disinformation useful to the Kremlin: Kazimieras Juraitis and Dmitrijus Glazkovas. We found both these surnames in another organization. Irmantos Gelūnos/BNS photo/Kazimires Juraitis The names of both D. Glazkov and K. Juraitis appear in the list of members of the so-called “Lithuanian Society Council”. This organization was established a few years ago by the signatory Zigmas Vaišvila, who was named by the Department of State Security at the time as an actor who is trying to “consolidate” pro-Kremlin forces in Lithuania. Most of the members of the “Lithuanian Society Council” are over 50 years old. One of the rare young faces is the student Kęstutis Juočeris, who appeared on the organization’s lists when he was only about twenty years old. The same K. Juočeris became the leader of the “International Student Union”, which began to appear in public last year, and he also heads the association of the same name established this year. Although all the founders of the association are citizens of Lithuania, the organization that calls itself international is still active in domestic politics. She initially fought for the right of students not to get vaccinated and was supported by the high-profile Health Law Institute. Recently, the students led by K. Juočeris actively support the controversial MP Mindaugas Puidokas. M. Puidokas is also consistently supported on the Minfo portal. Its owner M. Gabrilavičius accompanied M. Puidokas in 2019. in presidential election campaign events. Support for M. Puidok is not the only common denominator between Minfo and “International Student Union”. The leader of the student organization K. Juočeris is already presented as the author of Minfo. However, when asked to explain whether he himself wrote the text published by Minfo with his name on it, the head of the association replied “I don’t know”. He also answered a few more questions. Asked to comment on his relations with Z. Vaišvila’s “Lithuanian Society Council”, K. Juočeris soon ended the conversation. “Where are you from? who is here Is this the prosecutor’s office or what?” K. Juočeris said before hanging up the phone. He did not answer the question whether he knew Z. Vaišvilas. Aurelija Savickaitė, a journalism student who completed an internship at “Siena” contributed to this research
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