Facebook announced that it removed another group of pages, groups, and accounts for what it calls “coordinated inauthentic behavior, on Facebook and Instagram.
Only weeks after it announced that it had removed a coordinated network of Pages and accounts from Facebook and Instagram, Facebook has again detected and removed another network of Pages, groups, and accounts with activity originating in Iran and Russia.
As it explains in its recent announcement, “these were distinct campaigns”, and Facebook hasn’t “identified any link or coordination between them.” What it has found, however, is that they used “similar tactics by creating networks of accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing.”
It’s become quite obvious that Facebook is very serious about rooting out this abuse and making sure it doesn’t continue to sully its reputation, despite it being a huge challenge. Those responsible seem very determined and particularly well-funded, and Facebook says it constantly has “to improve to stay ahead.” Whether this means developing and using better technology, hiring more people and working more closely with law enforcement, security experts and other companies, Facebook is determined to do it.
Even when they are identified, one major challenge is the decision of when to take down these bad actors. While it’s important to take them down quickly if they are removed too early “it’s harder to understand their playbook and the extent of their network.” It’s also challenging to coordinate with law enforcement at this point.
The latest group of Pages, groups, and accounts that were taken down for their “coordinated inauthentic behaviour” includes 254 Pages, 276 accounts, and 3 groups on Facebook, as well as 116 accounts on Instagram. Around 983,000 accounts followed at least one of these Pages, 2,300 accounts joined at least one of these groups, and more than 59,000 accounts followed at least one of these Instagram accounts.
The group also ran ads worth more than $12,000 on Facebook and Instagram, in US and Australian dollars, with the first running Jan 2015, and the last in August 2018. Some of those ads were blocked since the launch of Facebook’s political ads transparency tools. Regarding organic content, Facebook says it hasn’t completed its review yet.
Finally, the group hosted 28 events. Facebook says that all pages have now been removed – “652 Pages, groups and accounts in total, a huge network of potential influence” it says.