Facebook’s inauthentic behavior content removal train made stops in two more countries: the U.K. and Romania.
A total of 23 Facebook pages, 74 Facebook accounts, five Facebook groups and 35 Instagram accounts were removed in the U.K. for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior, while those figures in Romania were four pages, 26 accounts and one group.
In the U.K., Gleicher said the removed pages, accounts and groups were run by individuals who represented themselves as far-right or anti-far-right activists, and they were part of a domestic-focused network, engaging in hate speech and spreading divisive comments on both sides of the country’s political debate.
Topics addressed by those pages, accounts and groups included immigration, free speech, racism, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) issues, far-right politics, issues between India and Pakistan and religious beliefs, including Islam and Christianity.
Gleicher said some 175,000 Facebook accounts followed one or more of the banned pages, and about 4,500 Instagram accounts followed one of the accounts removed from that platform.
Advertising was sparsely used, as Gleicher reported that ad activity between December 2013 and October 2018 totaled approximately $1,500, paid for in dollars and pounds.
He wrote, “We identified these accounts and pages through an internal investigation into U.K.-linked coordinated inauthentic behavior. Our assessment benefited from reporting by U.K. law enforcement. We have shared information about our analysis back with law enforcement, policymakers in the U.K. and our industry partners.”
Facebook shared some example of content from the removed pages:
In Romania, the removed pages, groups and accounts were part of a network that operated in the country and used a combination of fake and authentic accounts to mask who they were and what they were doing.
Gleicher said the pages, groups and accounts typically posted about local news and political issues, including fictitious bylines supporting the Social Democratic Party, as well as divisive narratives and promoted content hosted by several domains that presented themselves as news sites.
Some 1,550 Facebook accounts followed at least one of the banished pages, and between December 2019 and this past February, about $650 was spent on advertising, paid for in dollars, euros and Romanian Leu.
Examples of content from the removed pages follow: