Facebook removes Russian accounts for interference


Facebook removed several accounts and pages originated in Russia for engaging in foreign interference, the company announced Wednesday.

“Today, we removed three networks of accounts, Pages and Groups for engaging in foreign interference — which is coordinated inauthentic behavior on behalf of a foreign actor — on Facebook and Instagram. They originated in Russia and targeted Madagascar, Central African Republic, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Sudan and Libya,” the tech giant said in a statement.

A total of 35 Facebook accounts, 53 pages, seven groups and five Instagram accounts are closed, according to the statement, which were using a combination of fake accounts and posting about global and local political news, “including topics like Russian policies in Africa, elections in Madagascar and Mozambique, election monitoring by a local non-governmental organization and criticism of French and U.S. policies.”

“Our investigation connected these campaigns to entities associated with Russian financier Yevgeniy Prigozhin, who was previously indicted by the U.S. Justice Department,” the company said, adding that it shared its findings with law enforcement, policymakers and industry partners.

“We’re constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because we don’t want our services to be used to manipulate people,” Facebook said, underlining that the pages, groups and accounts are being removed based on their behavior, “not the content they posted.”

“In each of these cases, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves, and that was the basis for our action,” it added.

The company said it revealed the activity as part of its internal investigations into Russia-linked, suspected coordinated inauthentic behavior in Africa.

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