Facebook purges 3 Russia-based fake networks

Facebook has pulled down three separate networks for violating its policy against foreign or government interference that originated in Russia and created fictitious media accounts and along with driving people to other websites controlled by the state-backed hackers.

These operations worked across many internet services and attempted to hire contributors and seed their stories with news organisations.

“We removed 214 Facebook users, 35 Pages, 18 Groups and 34 Instagram accounts for violating our policy against foreign or government interference which is coordinated inauthentic behaviour on behalf of a foreign or government entity,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Security Policy at Facebook said in a statement on Thursday.

This activity originated in Russia and focused primarily on Syria and Ukraine, and to a lesser extent on Turkey, Japan, Armenia, Georgia, Belarus, and Moldova. A small portion of this activity focused on the UK and the US.

“In each case, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and 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,” Gleicher said.

The social network also removed one Page, five Facebook accounts, one Group and three Instagram accounts. This small network originated in Russia and focused primarily on Turkey and Europe, and also on the US.

“These accounts posed as locals based in Turkey, Canada and the US. They also recruited people to write for their website. This network had almost no following on our platforms when we removed it”.

The third network — 23 Facebook accounts, 6 Pages and 8 Instagram accounts — also originated in Russia and focused on global audiences and neighbouring countries including Belarus.

“We’ve seen deceptive campaigns target journalists and public figures in the past, including as part of hack-and-leak operations,” Facebook said.