Facebook closes fake accounts linked to French military and Russia

WION Web Team
New York, New York, United States of America Updated: Dec 16, 2020, 07:33 AM(IST)

Facebook Photograph:( PTI )

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Two networks running multiple Facebook accounts were assigned to people associated with the Russian Internet Research Agency, and the third had "links to individuals associated with French military."

Facebook has removed two networks based in Russia and one linked to the French military, accusing them of carrying out interference campaigns in Africa.

Two networks running multiple Facebook accounts were assigned to people associated with the Russian Internet Research Agency, and the third had "links to individuals associated with French military," the social media platform said in a statement on Tuesday.

All three were removed from the site for breaking its policy against foreign or government interference.

Facebook added the networks targetted countries mainly in north Africa and some in the Middle East.

Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of security policy, and David Agranovich, head of global threat disruption, said in a blog that the campaigns duelled with each other online.

The networks "used fake accounts as a central part of their operations to mislead people about who they are and what they are doing, and that was the basis for our action," Facebook said.

The French network targetted the Central African Republic and Mali, and, to a lesser extent, Niger, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Cote d'Ivoire and Chad. It involved 84 Facebook accounts, six pages, nine groups and 14 Instagram accounts that violated policy against "coordinated inauthentic behaviour."

Some of the posts, in French and Arabic, were about France's policies in Francophone Africa, claims of Russian interference in CAR elections, supportive comments about the French military and criticism of Russia.

In disrupting the two Russian networks, the social network removed 274 Facebook accounts and 18 Instagram accounts, along with an array of groups and pages.

(with inputs)

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