Facebook Takes Down Hundreds Of Russian Linked Pages And Accounts For Disinformation Operations
To purge disinformation operations for users outside the US by Russia, the social media giant Facebook removed hundreds of Russia-linked pages, group, and accounts. Facebook disclosed about this development on January 17, 2019, reported The Times Of India.
Facebook said that its recent effort to fight misinformation came after the company noticed that two networks were engaging in coordinated inauthentic behaviour on Facebook and its Instagram service.
Both networks misled its followers
Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook head of cybersecurity policy in a blog post said that one network operated in countries in Central and Eastern Europe, the Baltics, Central Asia and the Caucasus, whereas the other network targeted Ukraine. Talking on the two found networks, Gleicher said that the company failed to establish any links between both the operations, but found both the operation followed similar tactics. Both of them created networks of accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing. People running the accounts were independent news sources. They posted on topics like anti-Nato sentiment and protest movements.
U.S. tech companies have accelerated their work against disinformation campaigns, to curtail online troublemakers’ efforts to polarise voters and discredit democracy. Facebook’s countermeasures’ objective is to curb abuse of its platforms as was done by Russian groups two years ago to influence public opinion before 2016, U.S. presidential election.
Facebook has identified and blocked such tactics around the world. The company has been announcing such purges regularly in the recent months.
Sputnik Slammed Facebook
Gleicher further added that one network of 364 pages and accounts were linked to employees of Sputnik. It is a Russian state-run English-language news site. Near around 790,000 accounts followed one or other pages of this network. The network spent around the US $135,000 for advertising on Facebook for six years. Sputnik slammed Facebook for taking down accounts of seven of its bureaus in former Soviet republics. Facebook after receiving a tip from U.S. law enforcement, shut down another 148 pages, groups, and accounts, including 41 on Instagram. These accounts were part of a second network, which spent US$25,000 on ads in 2018.
Facebook has geared up its scrutinising policy after being reviled for its late response to foreign attempts to influence the 2016 vote.