Facebook announced on January 17 that it had removed and deleted 471 Facebook pages and accounts. According to the social media giant, these 471 accounts were somehow related to Russia, and this link led to their decision to terminate all of those accounts and Facebook pages.
Facebook has also deleted 41 Instagram accounts. Facebook termed the reason as being “coordinated inauthentic behavior.” Facebook had taken a similar step in the past when they deleted 220 pages, 73 accounts, and 29 Instagram accounts for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior. This step was a part of the larger agenda of taking down the Twinmark Media enterprises in the Philippines.
The two operations we found originated in Russia, and one was active in a variety of countries while the other was specific to Ukraine.” Even though there was no recognizable link between these operations, these two operations did indeed “used similar tactics by creating networks of accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing. – Nathaniel Gleiche, head of cybersecurity policy, Facebook
The first operation took down 289 Facebook pages and 75 Facebook accounts. According to Facebook, all of these accounts were engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior and operated in the Baltics, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Central and Eastern European countries. These countries were apparently linked to a Russian network. These Facebook pages discussed topics from travel, sports, and economics to politicians based in Romania, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, and Kyrgyzstan. Some of these pages “frequently posted about topics like the anti-NATO sentiment, protest movements, and anti-corruption,” and these alleged Facebook accounts and pages had links to employees of Sputnik.
Facebook shared the information about its operation with US law enforcement, the US Congress, and other technology companies, and US law enforcement, in turn, provided them with tips to take those pages and accounts down. Facebook also mentioned that this operation included “behavior that shared characteristics with previous Internet Research Agency (IRA) activity.” This operation is a part of the larger agenda of Facebook to make Facebook an abuse-free platform that will not hinder any political moments and elections in Europe this year.