Facebook, Twitter
Facebook, Twitter

San Francisco: Facebook and Twitter have purged another network of Russia-originated fake accounts targeting the US audience.

Facebook said it removed 49 Facebook accounts, 69 Pages and 85 Instagram accounts for engaging in foreign interference on Facebook, Instagram and other internet platforms.

"This network was in the early stages of building an audience and was operated by local nationals in Ghana and Nigeria on behalf of individuals in Russia. It targeted primarily the US," Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of security policy at Facebook, said in a statement.

Twitter said it removed 71 such accounts, operating out of Ghana and Nigeria and "which we can reliably associate with Russia, attempted to sow discord by engaging in conversations about social issues, like race and civil rights".

The micro-blogging platform said Russia is not alone in its quest to manipulate conversations through social media.

"In fact, during the 2018 US midterms, we saw more domestic attempts to spread misinformation than foreign," said Twitter on Friday.

The people behind this network engaged in a number of deceptive tactics, including the use of fake accounts a" some of which had already been disabled by our automated systems a" to manage Pages posing as non-government organisations or personal blogs, and post in Groups.

According to Facebook, they frequently posted about US news and attempted to grow their audience by focusing on topics like black history, black excellence and fashion, celebrity gossip, news and events related to famous Americans like historical figures and celebrities, and LGBTQ issues.

They also shared content about oppression and injustice, including police brutality.

"Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their purpose and coordination, our investigation found links to EBLA, an NGO in Ghana, and individuals associated with past activity by the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA)," said Facebook.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal