Facebook is attacking the Russians by making fake reports

0
8

Sputnik News AgencyCopyright of the image
Getty Images

Legend

Facebook announced that a campaign had closed links with the staff of the Russian news agency Sputnik

Facebook has removed 500 pages and accounts suspected of peddling false information in Central Europe, Ukraine and other Eastern European countries.

This action ends the efforts of two separate groups to "manipulate people," Facebook said on a blog.

The accounts had over 900,000 subscribers and spent more than $ 160,000 (£ 124,000) on advertisements.

Facebook said the accounts were loosely linked to known Russian state groups to spread false information.

Nest of trolls

The closures have affected two distinct campaigns "engaging in unhealthy coordinated behavior," he said.

The largest group of pages and accounts was located in Russia, but its misleading content targeted most countries and regions of Eastern Europe.

Organizations that manage page networks are independent sources of information and regularly share information on topics such as weather, travel, sports, economics, and politics.

In addition to more general topics, these pages have also written regularly about protest movements, anti-NATO sentiment and anti-corruption efforts.

Facebook's detective work, with the help of police and other technology groups, revealed that many of the authors of these accounts and pages were working for the Russian news agency Sputnik .

Copyright of the image
AFP

Legend

The pages deleted by Facebook contained links to a group accused of interference during the 2016 US presidential election

The other deleted account groups were also in Russia, but were covering almost all of their content in Ukraine.

The types of information disseminated and the tactics used used "common features" with the campaigns conducted by the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA).

The US government described the IRA as a "troll farm" and said it had ties to the Russian government. In February 2018, 13 people working for the IRA were indicted by the United States and accused of attempting to undermine the 2016 US presidential elections.

"We are removing these pages and accounts based on their behavior, not the content they publish," said Nathaniel Gleicher, head of Facebook's cyber security policy, on the blog.

"In these cases, the leaders of this activity have coordinated and used false accounts to present themselves in a false light, which is the basis of our action," he added.

Addressing pages that abuse Facebook was a "permanent challenge," Gleicher said.

"The people in charge are determined and well financed," he said. "We have to constantly improve ourselves to stay ahead."