San Francisco, Oct 4 . Facebook has removed multiple Pages, Groups and accounts that were involved in coordinated inauthentic behaviour on its platform as well as Instagram and originated from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Indonesia, Egypt and Nigeria.
Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook said the company removed 211 Facebook accounts, 107 Pages, 43 Groups and 87 Instagram accounts for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behaviour that originated in the UAE, Egypt and Nigeria.
“There were multiple sets of activity, each localised for a specific country or region. The people behind this network used fake accounts — some of which had already been disabled by our automated systems — to run Pages, post in Groups, disseminate their content and artificially increase engagement,” Gleicher said in a blog post on Thursday.
They managed Pages — some of which changed names over time — sharing local news in targeted countries and promoting content about UAE.
The Page admins and account owners primarily posted videos, photos and web links related to local events and issues in a particular country, and some content on topics including elections and candidates; UAE’s activity in Yemen; the first Emirati astronaut; criticism of Qatar, Turkey, and Iran; the Iran nuclear deal, and criticism of the Muslim Brotherhood.
“Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our investigation found links to three marketing firms — Charles Communications in the UAE, MintReach in Nigeria and Flexell in Egypt,” said Facebook.
Less than 1.4 million accounts followed one or more of these Pages, less than 100 accounts joined one or more of the Groups and less than 70,000 accounts followed at least one of these Instagram accounts.
Nearly $150,000 spent on Facebook ads paid for primarily in US dollars, Emirati dirham and Indian rupee.
Facebook said it also removed 69 Facebook accounts, 42 Pages and 34 Instagram accounts that were involved in domestic-focused coordinated inauthentic behaviour in Indonesia
“Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our investigation found links to an Indonesia media firm InsightID,” the company added.
Facebook removed 163 Facebook accounts, 51 Pages, 33 Groups and 4 Instagram accounts that were involved in coordinated inauthentic behaviour originating from Egypt.
“Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our investigation found links to an Egyptian newspaper El Fagr,” said Facebook.