Facebook purges fake Russian accounts targeting Europe

Facebook purges fake Russian accounts targeting Europe
© Getty Images

Facebook on Monday said it has removed dozens of accounts that were part of a Russian disinformation campaign aimed at Ukraine and other European countries.

“They frequently posted about local and political news including topics like the military conflict in Eastern Ukraine, Russian politics, political news in Europe, politics in Ukraine and the Syrian civil war,” the company said in a blog post.

Facebook said the pages were removed because they engaged in “coordinated inauthentic behavior” and not because of the content they were posting.

Sixty-two accounts, 10 pages and 25 groups were removed in the crackdown. Facebook said that those behind the campaign spent just $1 in advertising.

The accounts had about 34,000 followers and the groups counted 86,000 members.

Facebook said it also removed a smaller network of fake accounts originating from Russia that targeted countries including Austria, Germany, Spain, Ukraine and the U.K. Those accounts had 1,100 followers.

One of the posts from those accounts that was highlighted by Facebook links to an article alleging Ukraine is colluding with the Democratic Party in the U.S.

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