Facebook yesterday said it removed three unconnected networks of accounts, pages and groups for engaging in foreign or government interference.
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It said they were examples of “coordinated inauthentic behaviour on behalf of a government or foreign actor – on Facebook and Instagram”.
The first operation originated in Russia and primarily targeted Ukraine and its neighbouring countries. The second originated in Iran and focused mainly on the US. The third network originated in Myanmar and Vietnam and targeted audiences in Myanmar.
Facebook said each of them created networks of accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing and has shared information about its findings with industry partners.
“We’re constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because we don’t want our services to be used to manipulate people,” a statement from Facebook said. “We’re taking down these pages, groups and accounts based on their behaviour, not the content they posted. In each of these cases, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves – and that was the basis for our action.
“We are making progress rooting out this abuse but, as we’ve said before, it’s an ongoing challenge. We’re committed to continually improving to stay ahead. That means building better technology, hiring more people and working more closely with law enforcement, security experts and other companies.
“Today, we removed 78 Facebook accounts, 11 Pages, 29 Groups and four Instagram accounts for violating our policy against foreign or government interference. The individuals behind this activity posed as locals and used fake accounts – some of which had already been detected and disabled by our automated systems – to manage groups and pages, post and comment on various content. Some of these accounts represented themselves as citizen journalists and tried to contact policymakers, journalists and other public figures in the region. The page admins and account owners typically posted content in Russian, English and Ukrainian about local and political news including public figures in Ukraine, Russian military engagement in Syria, alleged SBU (strategic business unit) leaks related to ethnic tensions in Crimea and the downing of the Malaysian airliner in Ukraine in 2014. Although the people behind this network attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, our investigation found links to Russian military intelligence services.”
Facebook and other social media have in the past been accused of spreading fake news by people wanting to disadvantage others or gain advantage for themselves.
- Tags: Facebook