Facebook Removed Pages, Groups, Accounts in Thailand, Russia, Ukraine, Honduras
Facebook detailed another round of removals of pages, groups and accounts for coordinated inauthentic behavior, this time covering four separate, unconnected operations originating in Thailand, Russia, Ukraine and Honduras.
Head of cybersecurity policy Nathaniel Gleicher said in a Newsroom post that the social network removed 12 accounts and 10 pages that originated in Thailand and focused mostly on that country and the U.S.
He added that the people behind this activity used fake accounts to create fictitious personas and run pages in order to boost engagement, spread content and drive users to off-platform blogs disguised as news outlets.
They covered issues including Thai politics, U.S.-China relations, Hong Kong protests and criticism of democracy activists in Thailand.
Some of the activity was linked to a Thai-based person associated with Russian government-funded and Moscow-based journal New Eastern Outlook.
According to Gleicher, about 38,000 accounts followed one or more of these pages, and less than $18,000 was spent on Facebook ads, paid for in U.S. dollars. Sample content follows:
Prior to parliamentary elections in Ukraine, Facebook removed 18 accounts, nine pages and three groups, focused on that country but originating primarily in Russia. The people behind this activity created fictitious personas, impersonated deceased Ukrainian journalists, engaged in fake engagement tactics and operated fake accounts to boost their popularity, deceive people about their location and drive Facebook users to off-platform sites.
Content was primarily about Ukrainian politics and news, including Ukraine relations and criticism of the Ukrainian government.
Gleicher said some 80,000 accounts followed at least one of the removed pages, and about 10 joined at least one of the groups. Altogether, less than $100 was spent on Facebook ads, paid for in rubles. Content samples follow:
Caption: “When it seems that there is no bottom. Ukrainian TV anchor hosted a show dressed up as Hitler“
Caption: “A journalist from the US: there is a complete collapse of people’s hopes in Ukraine after Maidan“
In a separate action in Ukraine, 83 accounts, two pages, 29 groups and five Instagram accounts were removed, focused on that country and originating in Russia and the Luhansk region in Ukraine.
Fake accounts were used to impersonate military members in Ukraine, manage groups posing as authentic military communities and drive people to off-platform sites. Posts were frequently about local and political news, including the military conflict in the eastern part of the country, as well as public figures and politics.
Fewer than 1,000 accounts followed one or more of the removed pages, while under 35,000 joined at least one of the groups, and some 1,400 Instagrammers followed one or more accounts on that platform. Under $400 was spent on Facebook and Instagram ads, paid for in U.S. dollars. Examples follow: