Facebook removes over 1,100 accounts spreading deceptive content

Facebook removes over 1,100 accounts spreading deceptive content
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Facebook on Tuesday announced that during March it removed more than 1,100 accounts tied to spreading deceptive content in a variety of countries as part of its effort to root out domestic and international disinformation efforts. 

The social media giant reported that it had also removed almost 300 Instagram accounts, over 250 Facebook pages, and 34 Facebook groups tied to 14 coordinated influence operations over the past month. 

The over a dozen networks were based around the world, including five in Mexico along with networks in Israel, Comoros, Georgia, and Benin that were targeting domestic audiences within each country. 

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One network based in Israel was targeting Iranian audiences, while the remaining networks in Spain, El Salvador, Argentina, Albania and Iran were all targeting groups in various other countries.  

“We’re constantly working to find and stop coordinated campaigns that seek to manipulate public debate across our apps,” Facebook researchers wrote in a blog post detailing the takedowns. 

One of the operations was what Facebook described as a “troll farm” based in Albania and tied to an exiled militant opposition group that was targeting Iran over the past few years, along with three networks of accounts and pages that were using profile pictures generated by machine learning technologies. 

“We know that influence operations will keep evolving in response to our enforcement, and new deceptive behaviors will emerge,” the Facebook researchers wrote. “We will continue to refine our enforcement and share our findings publicly.”

“We are making progress rooting out this abuse, but as we’ve said before – it’s an ongoing effort. We’re committed to continually improving to stay ahead,” they added. “That means building better technology, hiring more people and working closely with law enforcement, security experts and other companies.”

Facebook releases reports at the beginning of each month on accounts and pages it removed over the previous month due to concerns over deceptive content. 

The company previously announced in November that it had removed a network of fake accounts based in Iran that targeted protests in Israel. Facebook announced as part of its report Tuesday that the threat actor behind those accounts had attempted to rebuild its presence throughout the past few months, and that Facebook would continue to disrupt them.