Facebook Takes Action Against 3 Separate Networks for Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior

They originated in Russia, Iran and Myanmar/Vietnam

This content is from one of the accounts removed in Russia Facebook

Facebook removed three unconnected networks for engaging in foreign or government interference, or coordinated inauthentic behavior on behalf of a government or foreign actor.

The first network originated in Russia and focused primarily on Ukraine and other neighboring countries.

It consisted of 78 accounts, 11 pages, 29 groups and four Instagram accounts, and Facebook head of security policy Nathaniel Gleicher said in a Newsroom post that the individuals behind the activity posed as locals and used fake accounts to manage groups and pages and post and comment on content.

Gleicher added that some represented themselves as citizen journalists and attempted to contact policymakers, journalists and other public figures in the region.

Content was typically posted in Russian, English and Ukrainian, focusing on local and political news such as public figures in Ukraine, Russian military engagement in Syria, alleged SBU (Sluzhba Bezpeky Ukrayiny, Ukraine’s secret service) leaks related to ethnic tensions in Crimea and the downing of a Malaysian airliner in Ukraine in 2014.

Gleicher said about 500 accounts followed one or more of the pages, while roughly 6,150 joined at least one of the groups, and some 100 followed one or more of the Instagram accounts.

Facebook shared examples of content posted by this network:

Reshare text: Hot summer for the MH17 investigation team?”Malaysian authorities ask for the proof that Russia is to be responsible for the tragedy of the MH17 Malaysia Airlines in Donbass region in 2014, said the country’s prime minister Mahathir bin Mohamad. According to him, Malaysia agreed with the investigation report made in Netherlands, but only until the clause which indicates that the plane was hit with a missile by Russia. “They blame Russia, but where is the proof? We know that the missile that hit the plane was of the Russian type, but it could also have been produced in Ukraine”, he mentioned.Netherlands and all the “Civilized World” have already relaxed, being sure that this catastrophe will disappear from the agenda quietly and unnoticed, becoming just another mystery like Kennedy Assassination or the 9/11. Proved, didn’t prove, found, didn’t find – what’s the difference? They already started to forget the PROMISED TRIBUNAL… The funding for the ‘investigation’ has been already issued by three countries up until 2023, teams of bureaucrats formed, all lined up to allocate the funds… So they just sat there, didn’t bother anyone, got the bucks while having imitated the frenzied activity, and..here you go! They have to write it anew, and this time for REAL.. And what has gotten into the Malaysian prime minister, who in one announcement nullified all the 5-year-long ‘work’ and ‘achievements’ of the Europeans???)It seems to me that this summer will be hot for some…
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Caption: Shortage of 200 tons of fuel and faulty canned goods found during the inspection in the 46th Unified Supply Center Link: “Treason of the Armed Forces of Ukraine”: Poltorak revoked the grade title from military officers due to the scandalous embezzlement of 200 tons of fuel
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The second network consisted of six accounts and five Instagram accounts originating in Iran and primarily focused on the U.S.

Gleicher said the activities of individuals in this network were similar to those of the first network, and content focused on political news and geopolitics, such as the U.S. elections, Christianity, U.S.-Iran relations, U.S. immigration policy, criticism of U.S. policies in the Middle East and public figures, as well as video interviews with academics, public figures and columnists on issues related to Iran and U.S. elections.

About 60 people followed at least one of the Instagram accounts. Facebook shared samples of content posted by this network:

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The third and final network was made up of 13 accounts and 10 pages originating in Myanmar and Vietnam and focusing on the former.

Gleicher said individuals in this network used fake accounts to manage pages posing as independent telecommunications consumer news hubs or pretended to be customers of telecom providers in Myanmar.

Content was typically shared in English and Burmese, focused on the alleged business failures and planned market exit of these service providers, as well as alleged fraudulent activity.

Gleicher said Facebook found links to two telecommunications providers—Mytel in Myanmar and Viettel in Vietnam—as well as Vietnamese public-relations firm Gapit Communications.

Approximately 265,600 accounts followed one or more of the pages, and the network spent about $1,155,000 on Facebook ads, paid for in dollars and Vietnamese dong.

The social network shared examples of content from this group:

Translation of the title of Meme: Types of Thieves: First Frame: Beginner “Give me all your money!” Second Frame: Expert “WaveMoney: Would you like to transfer/withdraw your cash?”
Facebook
Translation of the post from Myanmar Telecom Promotions. Our Myanmar nationals, let us stand together. If you are Myanmar and love Myanmar, please stand with me. Let’s join by liking and sharing this post. If you have not heard, we would like to share about the new policy set by SaNyaNa. There is no longer Welcome Bonus or Top-Up Bonus. This means that although 25 millions of Myanmar people are away from telecommunication services, there will be a rise in price by approximately 40%. In Asia, although Myanmar people are being way underpaid, they have to pay overly high-price for telecommunications services. Why is SaNyaNa looking for a way to stop promotions and remove bonuses? We need your help. Share this post and let others know. For SaNyaNa, we would like you to reduce the prices and provide the opportunity to further improve Myanmar. Translation of the text in the image 1: Please do not increase the price. Fulfill your responsibility. We are impoverished and please do not increase the price. Translation of the text in the image 2: Monthly income and (Internet) Data Price Blue Legend: Monthly Income Yellow: Data Price Recommended action: Ignore as it does not violate any of the IS policies.
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david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.
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