Bosnian journalist and blogger Mustafa Sejdinović caused a minor good will sensation in the post-Yugoslav part of the Balkans after he confessed to busting a Facebook group for Flat Earthers from the region.
Sejdinović, who goes by the nickname Musa, explained how he infiltrated the group Ravna Zemlja / Flat Earth Balkan, devoted to promotion of flat-earth conspiracy theory, became its admin and renamed it into Okrugla zemlja / Round Earth Balkan.
He retold his adventure through a December 16 Facebook post, which includes screenshots from his time as admin:
My dear [male and female] friends,
I know this damn 2020 was very hard, but that’s why you have me, to make your day, week, month or maybe the whole year. Here’s the story:
I was a member of the group Flat Earth, a collection of nutjobs. I wanted to mess around with them, but finding a way to do it was hard. They were deleting all “globers” without mercy, so I had to lay low and wait. And then, yesterday, out of the blue, they asked if someone wants to become admin (to help with banishing the undesired members). I couldn’t wait and applied, and imagine this, they granted me admin privileges!
They did that to me, a person they haven’t met before, and who they could have vetted with one click on my profile. My moment to mess around came, and I did it spectacularly. Check out the screenshots and enjoy.
Happy New 2021 to all, let it be better than 2020.
I changed the name into Round Earth, and they can’t change it back for the next 27 days. Isn’t it beutiful ❤
Musa’s post confessing how he trolled the group “Flat Earth Balkans” got over 18 K likes, 2.6K comments and 3.5 K shares in less than a day. Lejla Mesanović summed up the general feeling of the subsequent discussion:
…It’s truly nice to see how folks from the entire region write comments of support, and all are happy and smiling, without nationalism, insults or ugly comments. Thank you Musa for the wonderful day!
People who applauded the practical joke mostly consider the flat-earth conspiracy theorists deserve ridicule as the most blatant variant of the anti-scientific conspiracy theory mindset, which has been detrimental to quality of life in the region and beyond, and enabler of populism and extremism.
In North Macedonia, for example, Milenko Nedelkovski, a propagandist noted in the recent European Parliament report as purveyor of disinformation, during the reign of Nikola Gruevski’s VMRO-DPMNE used his show on Kanal 5 TV, a station that profited from taxpayers money funneled by the regime, to promote various conspiracy theories including Flat Earth.
The targeted Flat Earthers group has over one thousand members, and continues to function with the new (temporary) name, under previous admins. They seem to have had reverted back some of the changes instituted during Musa’s tenure as admin, like deleting his amendment to the group “About” note that indicated that their lack of critical thinking led to the embarrassment:
This is a group exclusive for Flat Earhters who are serious into it and follow the latest Flat Earth research. People who spread the pagan opinion about the planet and the globe have no place here. Members are advised to report such individuals to the Admin so they would be thrown out of the group without prior notice.
The deleted part of the description read:
However we have again proven to be guilable by giving admin priviledges to a man we didn’t bother to vet. That’s the way us Flat Earthers roll, we know everything about the planet, but we have no clue about the people we could have checked with one click on their profile.