Facebook and Twitter this week announced they suspended thousands of accounts that were involved in disinformation campaigns aligned with the interests of several governments.
Facebook removed over 800 accounts, pages and groups from the social media platform for engaging in what the company calls coordinated inauthentic behavior. Other accounts were taken down for brigading and mass reporting.
The largest number of removed Facebook accounts, pages, and groups (548 in total, alongside 86 Instagram accounts) were associated with a network primarily originating in China and targeting audiences in the United States, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Tibet.
“Our investigation found links to individuals in mainland China, including employees of Sichuan Silence Information Technology Co, Ltd, an information security firm, and individuals associated with Chinese state infrastructure companies located around the world,” the social media platform says.
In November 2021, Facebook removed 141 accounts, along with 79 pages and 13 groups from its platform, as well as 21 Instagram accounts, all of which were targeting people in Palestine. The activity appears linked to the Hamas terrorist organization.
The company also removed 37 Facebook accounts, groups, and events, along with four Instagram accounts originating from Poland and aimed at individuals in Belarus and Iraq. An additional 46 Facebook accounts and groups and four Instagram accounts in Belarus were removed for the targeting of people in the Middle East and Europe.
Additionally, Facebook removed a network of accounts in Italy and France, for mass harassment targeted at journalists, medical professionals, and elected officials, and another network of accounts in Vietnam, for engaging in the mass reporting of activists and other individuals who criticized the Vietnamese government.
Twitter has suspended a total of 3,465 accounts for their suspected involvement in state-linked information operations. These accounts were associated with a total of eight distinct operations originating from six countries.
Of the suspended accounts, a total of 2,048 were engaged in amplifying Chinese Communist Party narratives regarding the Uyghur population in Xinjiang, while an additional 112 accounts were associated with a private company tied to the Xinjiang regional government.
A network of 276 inauthentic accounts supporting Mexican government initiatives was also removed, along with 66 accounts linked to Russia, including 16 accounts that targeted the Central African Republic, and 50 accounts targeting the civilian Libyan government and its supporters.
Furthermore, Twitter removed 268 accounts targeting FichuaTanzania members and supporters, 418 accounts distributing coordinated inauthentic content in line with the interests of Ugandan presidential incumbent Museveni and the National Resistance Movement (NRM), and 277 accounts supporting the Venezuelan government (the Twitter Patria app and accounts managing it were also suspended).
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