Tech

Facebook removes 'coordinated' fake accounts in UAE, Egypt, Nigeria and Indonesia

Key Points
  • Facebook says it has removed multiple accounts involved in what it called "coordinated inauthentic behavior" on both its Facebook and Instagram platforms.
  • Coordinated inauthentic behavior is defined by Facebook as "when groups of pages or people work together to mislead others about who they are or what they're doing."
  • The moves came as social media firms such as Facebook and Twitter face increasing scrutiny by governments outside the United States.
Signage is displayed outside Facebook Inc. headquarters in Menlo Park, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Facebook said it has removed multiple accounts involved in what it terms "coordinated inauthentic behavior" on both its Facebook and Instagram platforms.

"We removed multiple Pages, Groups and accounts that were involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior on Facebook and Instagram," Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity policy at Facebook, wrote in a post dated Thursday. "We found three separate operations: one of which originated in the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Nigeria, and the other two in Indonesia and Egypt."

Coordinated inauthentic behavior is defined by Facebook as "when groups of pages or people work together to mislead others about who they are or what they're doing," as outlined by Gleicher in a post from December 2018.

Firms that Facebook alleged had links to the activities included Charles Communications in the UAE, MintReach in Nigeria, and Egypt's Flexell in the first case. Facebook said InsightID in Indonesia and El Fagr in Egypt allegedly had links to the other two cases, respectively.

Gleicher said the moves to take down the pages, groups and accounts were based on their behavior and not the content that was 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 of our action," Gleicher said.

Social media firms such as Facebook and Twitter face increasing scrutiny by governments outside the United States.

Both companies previously removed accounts from its platforms for what they said was a disinformation campaign against pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

— CNBC's Ted Kemp contributed to this report.

Watch: Twitter suspends accounts from China suspected of undermining protests in Hong Kong

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Twitter suspends accounts from China suspected of undermining protests in Hong Kong
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Key Points
  • Twitter and Facebook have suspended numerous accounts that are believed to be tied to a state-backed disinformation campaign originating from inside China.
  • Facebook said it took down several pages, groups and accounts involved in the activity, while Twitter suspended 936 accounts associated with the misinformation campaign.
  • Twitter is also barring state-controlled news media entities from advertising on the platform.