Facebook says it has removed more than 2,600 fake accounts in a crackdown on troll networks that are manipulating its users.
An total of 2,632 pages, groups and records from Iran, Russia, North Macedonia and Kosovo were erased for taking part in “coordinated inauthentic behaviour” on both Facebook and Instagram.
Among those erased were 513 pages from worldwide networks tied to Iran, which Facebook says “impersonated real political groups and media organisations”. Some of these accounts, one of which had more than 1.4 million followers, shared subject matter on pressures among India and Pakistan, conflicts in Yemen and Syria and the ongoing political emergency in Venezuela.
A further 1,907 pages, groups and accounts linked to Russia have been expelled – some to posting content relating on Ukrainian politics, in front of the presidential decision on March 31. One of those gatherings had 1.7 million subscribers.
Moreover, 212 pages from North Macedonia and Kosovo have been erased for “sharing general, non-country specific content like astrology, celebrities and beauty tips”. Facebook further says a few pages professed to speak to represent political communities in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States – and shared content relating to nationalism, Islam, and political figures.
“The people responsible are determined and well-funded”
“We are constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because we don’t want our services to be used to manipulate people”, said Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s Head of Cybersecurity Policy.
“While we are making progress rooting out this abuse, as we’ve said before, it’s an ongoing challenge because the people responsible are determined and well-funded.”
The social media giant says it is building better technology and working closely with security experts as it continues to purge accounts from its platforms.
In January, Facebook uncovered it had expelled in excess of 700 different pages and accounts attached to Iran and Venezuela for similar “coordinated inauthentic behaviour”.