Facebook revealed it removed 265 Facebook and Instagram accounts aimed at influencing elections in Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Angola, Niger, and Tunisia.
In a blog post, the company said the “coordinated inauthentic behavior” originated in Israel, adding:
“We’re constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because we don’t want our services to be used to manipulate people. As in other cases involving coordinated inauthentic behavior, the individuals behind this activity coordinated with one another to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing, and that was the basis for our action.”
Facebook deleted 65 Facebook accounts, 161 Pages, 23 Groups, 12 events, and four Instagram accounts associated with the Israeli public relations firm Archimedes Group.
According to Facebook, about 2.8 million accounts followed at least one of the pages, 5,500 accounts joined a group, and around 920 people followed the Instagram accounts.
“We identified these accounts and Pages through our internal investigations into suspected coordinated inauthentic behavior,” Facebook said. “We have shared information about our analysis with industry partners and policymakers.”
Facebook said they removed the posts because of its behavior, not because of the content of the posts. Archimedes Group and its subsidiaries are now banned. The groups have also been issued a cease and desist letter.
“It has repeatedly violated our misrepresentation and other policies, including by engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior,” Facebook said. “We are making progress rooting out this abuse, and, as we’ve said before, it’s an ongoing challenge.”