Facebook kills 103 pages/accounts linked to Pakistani military employees

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April 1, 2019
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In its effort to curb “coordinated inauthentic behavior or spam” on its platform, the social networking giant, Facebook has removed 103 accounts, group, and pages that were part of a network linked to employees of the Pakistani military’s Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR).

Facebook has today announced in a public post that it has removed the pages, account, and groups on Facebook and Instagram set up by the military networks “for violating Facebook’s policies on coordinated inauthentic behavior or spam”. Facebook says that these accounts were spreading misinformation about Pakistani politics and political leaders, the Indian government and the Pakistani military.

Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cyber-security, wrote in a blog post;

“Today we removed 103 pages, Groups and accounts for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior on Facebook and Instagram as part of a network that originated in Pakistan.”

Facebook’s cyber-security chief also revealed that these social accounts and pages were run by ISPR under fake identities. As he stated;

“Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our investigation found that it was linked to employees of the ISPR (Inter-Service Public Relations) of the Pakistani military. […] We’re taking down these pages and accounts based on their behavior, not the content they posted.”

Facebook’s announcement also details that 24 pages, 57 accounts and 7 groups removed on Facebook had over 2.8 million followers and around $1,100 were spent on Facebook ads by this network. An additional 15 Instagram accounts were also removed.

Meanwhile, Facebook also announced the removal of 687 pages and accounts linked to India’s main opposition Congress party which had engaged in “coordinated inauthentic behavior” on Facebook and Instagram.

In Pakistan, there are rumors that ISPR has officially employed a big social media team that makes such coordinated efforts, however, no authentic proof of such team has been observed until now. Moreover, ISPR has also declined the Reuters’ request for comment on the Facebook pages deletion matter.

You can read the details on Facebook’s blog post here.

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