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Facebook takes down 687 pages from India ahead of national elections

Apr 1, 2019, 12:30 am

Facebook has taken down several pages, groups, and accounts from India and Pakistan for violating its policies and participating in inauthentic behavior or spam. The social network has clarified that the 687 takedowns were not because of the kind of content posted by these pages, but inauthentic behavior and the bid to deceive users about their identity.

Facebook said that in its investigation it found individuals who use fake accounts and join various groups to disseminate their content and increase engagement. Their posts included local news and criticism of political opponents.

Misrepresentation Policies in IndiaNathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook asserted that the removal was not done on the content that was posted by these pages and groups but due to their undesirable behavior.

While the people behind such pages attempted to conceal their identities, our reviewer found it was connected to individuals associated with an INC (Indian National Congress) IT Cell – Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy

In case of the pages from Pakistan, these were linked to employees of the Inter-Services Public Relations Pakistan (ISPR), which is the media wing of the Pakistan military. The fourth set of takedowns were not linked to any particular political party, but rather individuals who were promoting spam and sharing malware links on the social network.

Violating Facebook PoliciesFacebook, has been ramping up efforts to ensure breach-free platform after it has been facing flak globally for instances of a user data breach including WhatsApp and Instagram that might also be misused to spread misinformation, especially ahead of polls in India. The government had warned social media platforms of intense action ahead of general elections if any attempt was made to sway the country’s electoral process.

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