Facebook Inc. shut down multiple pages, groups and accounts engaged in "coordinated inauthentic behavior" from its platform and Instagram Inc.'s photo and video-sharing social networking service.
In an Aug. 1 blog post, Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, said the company found two separate operations: one of which originated in United Arab Emirates and Egypt, and another in Saudi Arabia. Although both operations were not connected, they both created networks of accounts to mislead others, Gleicher noted.
The social media giant removed 259 accounts, 102 pages, five groups, four events as well as 17 Instagram accounts for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior that originated in the UAE and Egypt and focused on a number of countries, primarily in the Middle East and some in North and East Africa. Facebook said its investigation found links to two marketing firms — New Waves in Egypt and Newave in the UAE.
Facebook said more than 13.7 million accounts followed one or more of these pages and about $167,000 was spent on advertising, primarily in U.S. dollars and Emirati dirhams.
Additionally, Facebook removed 217 accounts, 144 pages, five groups and 31 Instagram accounts that were involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior originating from Saudi Arabia that focused primarily on the Middle East and Northern Africa. Around $108,000 was spent on Facebook and Instagram ads paid for in Saudi riyal and U.S. dollars, Gleicher added.
The social networking giant recently took down accounts, pages and groups involved in "coordinated inauthentic behavior" in Thailand, Russia, Ukraine and Honduras.