Facebook has removed hundreds of accounts, pages, and groups from its social network platforms in what it called “coordinated inauthentic behavior” on both its Facebook and Instagram platforms linked to three operations in Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Nigeria.
Coordinated inauthentic behavior is defined by Facebook as “when groups of pages or people work together to mislead others about who they are or what they’re doing.”
The moves came as social media firms such as Facebook and Twitter face increasing scrutiny by governments outside the United States.
The tech giant said it removed a total of 443 Facebook and 125 Instagram accounts, as well as 200 pages and 76 groups originating in these countries. Facebook said one of the operations was sharing local news in targeted countries and promoting content about UAE as well as criticism of Qatar, Turkey, and Iran.
A smaller operation was involved in “domestic-focused coordinated inauthentic behaviour in Indonesia,” with fake accounts sharing content in support of the independence movement in West Papua province, while others posted criticism of it.
A third operation, originating in Egypt, focused on Somalia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen, Tunisia, Iran, Turkey, Lebanon, and Qatar, the social media company said. Facebook said of the fake accounts, “(They) typically posted about domestic news and political topics including content in support of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. The fake account also made criticism of Qatar, Iran, and Turkey; and Yemen’s southern separatist movement.”
Over seven million accounts followed one or more of the pages and some 3,000 accounts joined at least one of the groups. Around 193,000 people followed one or more of the Instagram accounts