A post on Facebook Newsroom revealed that the social media company banned three separate networks originating from Russian for participating in coordinated inauthentic behavior (CIB). The entities were seen leaking illegally obtained sensitive information.
In a report by Facebook Head of Security Policy Nathaniel Gleicher, the clusters violated the platform’s “policy against foreign or government interference,” which involved “CIB on behalf of a foreign or government entity.”
The latest incident involves hundreds of Facebook users, Pages, Groups, and Instagram accounts from Russia, which Facebook’s automated systems removed. Their main activity occurred in Syria and Ukraine.
The fake users also operated in Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Japan, Moldova, and Turkey. To some extent, some activity was also seen in the United Kingdom and the United States.
Gleicher emphasized that the move was based on behaviors shown by these accounts and not the content they publish. Many of these users were fictitious personas, fake journalists, and proclaimed hacktivist groups.
Each of the three networks reportedly had people coordinating using fake users “to mislead people about who they are and what they are doing.”
Gleicher noted that one of the networks was responsible for “driving people to their off-platform sites and other social media platforms where, among other themes, they promoted content related to past alleged leaks of compromising information.”
This cluster is composed of 214 FB users, 35 Pages, 18 Groups, and 34 Instagram users with 8,500 followers, 9,500 members, and 7,500 followers. It spent $60 on paid ads.
For the second network, many of the users’ content focused on elections concerning other countries, the pandemic, and criticisms of the United States. Geopolitical conspiracies and injustices were also prominent topics.
This involves 5 users, 1 Page, 1 Group, and 3 IG accounts with 4,900 followers, 1 member, and 5,600 followers. The cluster spent $4,800 on paid ads.
The third network focused more on news and current affairs, especially protests and elections. Conspiracies, international relations, and US foreign policies were also prominent topics.
The cluster involves 23 FB users, 6 Pages, 8 IG accounts, with a whopping 59,000 Page followers, 2,000 IG followers. It spends $10,000 on paid ads.
This is not the first time that the company has taken action against accounts and networks that exhibit suspicious behavior. The social media network has been monitoring accounts with similar activities.
A few days ago, the platform removed more than 150 entities, including accounts, Pages, Groups, and Instagram accounts from the Philippines. In fact, the company reported more than 100 networks due to CIB and has started publishing monthly CIB progress reports.