Facebook removes 687 Pages for inauthentic behaviour

by April 2, 2019 0 comments

Facebook has removed two separate and unrelated networks of Pages, Groups and accounts that engaged in coordinated inauthentic behaviour on Facebook and Instagram in India. The first was linked to individuals associated with the INC IT Cell, and the second was connected to individuals associated with an Indian IT firm, Silver Touch.

The company removed 687 Facebook Pages and accounts, the majority of which had already been detected and suspended by automated systems, that engaged in coordinated inauthentic behaviour in India. Further, the social media giant removed 321 Facebook Pages and accounts in India that have broken the company’s rules against spam.

The operations Facebook found to be engaged in coordinated inauthentic behaviour were two distinct sets of activities in India and one network in Pakistan.

‘We’re taking down these Pages and accounts based on their behavior, not the content they posted. In each case detailed below, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves, and that was the basis for our action,’ Facebook said in a blog post.

The Page admins and account owners typically posted about local news and political issues, including topics like the upcoming elections, candidate views, the INC and criticism of political opponents including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). While the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, Facebook’s review found that it was connected to individuals associated with an INC IT Cell.

A small number of Page admins and account owners used a combination of authentic and fake accounts to share their content across a variety of Pages. They posted about local news and political events, including topics like the Indian government, the upcoming elections, the BJP and alleged misconduct of political opponents including the INC.

Below is a sample of the content posted by some of these Pages:

The people behind this behaviour create Pages using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names. They post clickbait posts on these Pages to drive people to websites that are entirely separate from Facebook and seem legitimate, but are actually ad farms. The people behind the activity also post the same clickbait posts in dozens of Facebook Groups, often hundreds of times in a short period, to drum up traffic for their websites. And they often use their fake accounts to generate fake likes and shares. This artificially inflates engagement for their inauthentic Pages and the posts they share, misleading people about their popularity and improving their ranking in News Feed.

‘This activity goes against what people expect on Facebook and it violates our policies. This is why we continue to invest in people and resources to improve the technology we use to detect this type of harmful behaviour, and we will continue to take action on an ongoing basis to address it,’ the company said.

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