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Facebook blocks Ukrainian ‘troll factory:’ well-known media among them

Facebook deleted in total 168 accounts, 149 pages, 79 groups, with 4.2 million subscribers
18:44, 17 September 2019

Facebook
Open source

Facebook has removed a number of accounts and groups that have been running coordinated disinformation campaigns in Ukraine. Facebook published this statement.

“We also removed 168 accounts, 149 Facebook Pages and 79 Groups for engaging in domestic-focused coordinated inauthentic behavior in Ukraine,” the statement said.

Less than 4.2 million accounts followed one or more of these pages and about 401,000 accounts joined at least one of these Groups. Among the deleted pages, there were accounts of Znaj.ua, Politeka, Hyser outlets.

The company states that people behind this activity used fake accounts to manage Groups and a number of Pages — some of which changed their names over time, and also to increase engagement, disseminate content and drive people to off-platform sites posing as news outlets. The page admins and account owners typically posted about celebrities, show business, sports, local and international news, political and economic issues including Ukrainian elections, political candidates and criticism of various public figures.

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“Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our review linked this activity to Pragmatico, a Ukrainian PR firm,” the message reads.

At the same time, the online outlets of Znaj.ua and Politeka.net, whose accounts were previously deleted by Facebook, deny the use of fake pages and demand to restore them on Facebook.

As it was reported earlier, Russian internet trolls seem to be shifting strategy to disrupt the 2020 U.S. elections, promoting politically divisive messages through phony social media accounts instead of creating propaganda themselves, cybersecurity experts say.

Related: Facebook pays contractors to decrypt users' audio chats

 

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