Facebook Removed Inauthentic Behavior from Russia



Facebook announced that it has removed coordinated inauthentic behavior, this time, coming from Russia. This follows the October 2018 removal of coordinated inauthentic behavior that originated in Iran.

Facebook’s Nathaniel Gletcher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy, wrote: Today we removed 364 Facebook pages and accounts for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior as part of a network that originated in Russia and operated in the Baltics, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Central and Eastern European countries.

Facebook found:

  • Presence on Facebook: 289 Pages and 75 Facebook accounts. They did not find any associated accounts on Instagram.
  • Followers: About 790,000 accounts followed one or more of these Pages.
  • Advertising: Around $135,000 in spending for ads on Facebook paid for in euros, rubles, and US dollars. The first ad ran in October 2013, and the most recent ad ran in January 2019. Facebook has not completed a review of the organic content coming from those accounts.
  • Events: Around 190 events were hosted by these Pages. The first was scheduled for August 2015, and the most recent was scheduled for January 2019. Up to 1,200 people expressed interest in at least one of these events. Facebook cannot confirm whether any of those events actually occurred.

Facebook shared information about their investigation with US law enforcement, the US Congress, other technology companies, and policymakers in other countries.

Facebook also removed 107 Facebook Pages, Groups, and accounts, as well as 41 Instagram accounts, for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior as part of a network that originated in Russia and operated in the Ukraine.

Facebook found:

  • Presence on Facebook and Instagram: 26 Pages, 77 Facebook accounts, and 4 Groups, as well as 41 Instagram accounts.
  • Followers: About 180,000 Facebook accounts followed one or more of these Pages, and more than 55,000 accounts followed one or more of these Instagram accounts.
  • Advertising: Around $25,000 in spending for ads on Facebook and Instagram paid for in rubles. The first ad ran in January of 2018, and the most recent ad ran in December of 2018. Facebook has not completed a review of the organic content coming from these accounts.

What troubles me the most about this is how long those Pages and accounts were on Facebook before they were removed. It is clear that people should not trust that everything they see on Facebook is true. People also shouldn’t assume the accounts and Pages they interact with are actually who they are presenting themselves as.