Facebook Removes 3 Networks in Russia for Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior

Links were found to the Internet Research Agency and intelligence services

An example of content from one of the three networks that were removed Facebook
Headshot of David Cohen

Facebook’s coordinated inauthentic behavior train made another stop in Russia, picking up and removing three networks that originated in the country.

Head of security policy Nathaniel Gleicher shared details about the removals in a Newsroom post Thursday.

The first network was made up of 214 accounts, 35 pages, 18 groups and 34 Instagram accounts, and it focused primarily on Syria and Ukraine, also dabbling into Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Japan, Moldova and Turkey, with a small portion of its activity targeting the U.K. and U.S.

Posts appeared in several languages, including Arabic, English, Russian and Ukrainian, and activity was tailored to each audience.

Gleicher said about 8.500 accounts followed one or more of the pages, while around 9,500 joined at least one of the groups and one or more of the Instagram accounts was followed by some 7,500 people. Only about $60 was spent on Facebook ads, paid for in dollars and rubles.

Examples of content posted by the removed pages and accounts follow:

Image title: Disputed Kuril Islands. Caption: #Russia #Japan #Kuril islands #Shinzō_Abe #SecondWorldWar #islands #claims Bad historical memoryFacebook

Facebook

Facebook

Facebook

The second network consisted of five accounts, one page, one group and three Instagram accounts, focused primarily on Europe and Turkey, with some content targeted toward the U.S.

The people behind this activity posted off-platform articles, primarily in English and Turkish, about global news and current events relevant to the countries they targeted. Facebook’s investigation found links to individuals associated with past activity by the Russian Internet Research Agency.

Approximately 4,900 accounts followed the page, while one account joined the group and some 5,500 people followed one or more of the Instagram accounts. About $4,800 in Facebook ads were paid for in euros and rubles.

Examples of content posted by the removed pages and accounts follow:

Travel limit brought in #China’s #Hubey state due to #coronavirus has been removed. #Sinciang #Uyghur Autonomous Region schools are open again as no more cases are seen. #COVID19 #QingfeipaidutangFacebook

Facebook

Facebook

Facebook

And the third network included 23 accounts, six pages and eight Instagram accounts, posting primarily in English and Russian about news and current events. The social network’s investigation found links to individuals, some of whom were associated with Russian intelligence services.

Some 59,000 accounts followed at least one of the pages, while around 2,000 followed one or more of the Instagram accounts, and roughly $10,000 in ad spending on Facebook and Instagram was primarily paid for in rubles.

Examples of content posted by the removed pages and accounts follow:

Facebook

Page title: Strategic Culture foundation. Caption: The indigenous population of European countries is aging and extinct, and Muslim families are common, and this is fueled by the continuous influx of immigrants from the East countries.Facebook

Page title: Strategic Culture foundation. Caption: The West is trying to drag Belarus, probably not perfect, but overall stable, on the same path that Ukraine, Syria, Libya and the former Yugoslavia are walkingFacebook


david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.
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