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Fake News Fight: Facebook Removes Counterfeit Russian Accounts

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Facebook deleted a couple of Russian fake accounts which specialized in imploring deceptive tactics to join Facebook groups. 

The deceptive accounts according to Facebook in a blog post totalled 97. They comprised of counterfeit Facebook profiles, pages and groups which belonged to a network from Russia. The perpetrators of the crime consistently disseminated their content and increased engagements with controversial topics ranging from military conflicts in Eastern Ukraine to the Syrian civil war. They centred on issues that would stir conflicts and hate.

Facebook says that it has disabled all the accounts run by the perpetrators of the violators. They were a total of 62 Facebook groups, 10 pages, and 25 groups and about 86,000 of these “fake users” joined at least one of the groups. They ran ads spending around $1.

A spokesperson from Facebook disclosed to CNN that the company would like to maintain a low profile about divulging too much information about the allegations. Facebook thinks it’s crucial that people are aware of the tactics been employed. In other words, it’s a public announcement to users to be careful about who they accept and the groups they join. Making the news public, however, will further augment the false stories promoted by the counterfeit accounts.

The fake accounts focused on the politics in Ukraine. Facebook says it was able to identify these accounts following investigations of these users that the social network had blocked earlier this year ahead of the elections in Ukraine.

The social network also discovered another small network emanating from Russia which had its focus on Austria, Spain, Germany, the Baltics, and the United Kingdom. These groups were also involved in “coordinated inauthentic behaviours,” suspected to be linked to Russia but with a fewer presence on Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook says both networks are not connected.

Facebook may have a hard time policing the numerous communities on its platform. The company launched its first marketing campaign encouraging users to join groups. There are tens of millions of groups on Facebook. Some are dedicated to relationship matters, some to family issues, some others are committed to supporting a presidential candidate, and more people are getting more active in groups, than on their pages.

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