Facebook said Wednesday it purged dozens of accounts linked to Russian military intelligence in the latest effort to root out manipulation and disinformation of the huge social network.
Other accounts originating in Iran, Vietnam and Myanmar were also blocked on Facebook and Instagram for “engaging in foreign or government interference,” Facebook head of security policy Nathaniel Gleicher said.
The Russia-based network which included 78 Facebook accounts and four on Instagram focused mainly on Ukraine and neighboring countries and posted content about the conflict in Syria, ethnic tensions in Crimea and the downing of a Malaysian airliner in Ukraine in 2014.
“Although the people behind this network attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, our investigation found links to Russian military intelligence services,” Gleicher said in a blog post.
The move is the latest by social networks seeking to crack down on foreign manipulation including efforts to artificially promote certain political messages, often with misinformation.
Facebook said it also took down separate networks in Iran, Vietnam and Myanmar.
Six Facebook and five Instagram accounts from Iran that were focused on the United States and US-Iranian relations were removed for “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” and apparent links to a similar network taken down by Facebook in January 2019.
“They shared posts about political news and geopolitics including topics like the US elections, Christianity, US-Iran relations, US immigration policy, criticism of US policies in the Middle East and public figures as well as video interviews with academics, public figures and columnists on issues related to Iran and US elections,” Gleicher said.
An additional 13 Facebook accounts from Myanmar and Vietnam were removed for using fake accounts to manage pages “posing as independent telecom consumer news hubs,” which disparaged business rivals, according to the Facebook statement.
These pages turned out to be linked to telecom services Mytel in Myanmar and Viettel in Vietnam, and Gapit Communications, a communications firm in Vietnam.
© 2020 AFP
WATCH: John Oliver exposes Trump’s lies about vote-by-mail — and the Fox News ‘cult’ claiming the election is already ‘rigged’
"Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver's main story Sunday refuted President Donald Trump's latest crusade against vote-by-mail. Trump announced on Twitter that the more people who vote in an election, the more Republicans tend to lose. So, he wants fewer people to have access to the ballot in November, even if people are too scared to go out during the coronavirus crisis.
Oliver called out Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R-MO), who outright told people not to vote if they were too afraid to vote in the local elections next week.
"Well, hold on there," Oliver interjected. "Voting is a right. It has to be easy to understand and accessible to anyone."
John Oliver rips Fox News’ Tucker Carlson for urging ‘order’ from people of color — but never demanding it of police
John Oliver opened his Sunday show, shredding Fox News host Tucker Carlson for uring "order" among protesters, but refusing to urge "order" to police and "wannabe police" who can't stop killing people.
It's a lot, Oliver explained. "How these protests are a response to a legacy of police misconduct, both in Minneapolis and the nation at large and how that misconduct is, itself, built on a legacy of white supremacy that prioritizes the comfort of white Americans over the safety of people of color."
While some of it is complicated, Oliver conceded, most of it is "all too clear."
Cars set on fire blocks from White House as DC protests turn violent
The Washington, D.C. protests turned violent as the city approached the 11 p.m. curfew the mayor instituted Sunday afternoon.
The policy of D.C. police is that when they are attacked, they advance forward. So, when fireworks were fired, the line of officers began pushing the protesters back further from the White House. Behind the line of police officers also stand a line of National Guard troops that President Donald Trump has demanded stand watch in the city.
Lights that normally shine on the White House have also been turned off, reporters revealed.