Facebook has removed 105 Facebook accounts, 24 Pages, and five Instagram accounts for violating policy against coordinated inauthentic behavior. This network originated in and targeted Ukraine. This was stated in Facebook report for April 2021.
"Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, our investigation found links to individuals associated with Sluha
Narodu, a political party in Ukraine," it says.
It is noted that the accounts were deleted for violating Facebook's policy on coordinated inauthentic behavior.
"The people behind this activity posted in Ukrainian and Russian about news and other topics like corruption; politics; automotive industry; satiric content about covid-19; supportive commentary about the Sluha Narodu party and the current Ukrainian government; and criticism of opposition parties and politicians including former president Poroshenko and the mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko," the report reads.
It was noted that about $210,000 was spent for ads on Facebook and Instagram.
Last month, Facebook took down a network operated from Ukraine which targeted people in the country for violating its policy against coordinated inauthentic behavior (CIB). Facebook investigation found links to individuals and entities sanctioned by the U.S. Department of Treasury — Andrii Derkach, Petro Zhuravel, and Begemot-linked media, and also political consultants associated with Ukrainian politicians Volodymyr Groysman and Oleg Kulinich. Facebook removed Derkach’s accounts in October 2020 and began an investigation into this Ukraine-focused activity soon after, based on a tip from the FBI.
"While Derkach and others were sanctioned for election interference in the United States, this activity was solely focused on Ukraine. We assess this network to be run by at least three separate teams of operators — each connected to a different politician: Derkach, Groysman and Kulinich. The individuals behind this activity managed a long-running deceptive influence operation (IO) across multiple social media platforms and their own websites, primarily copying and pasting news content from other Ukrainian news media. They built a ready-made network of seemingly independent media websites and social media assets that worked to promote content favorable to
the three politicians and their political groups, while also engaging in similar behavior in support of other political actors across the entire political spectrum, likely for hire. This included competing political parties in Ukraine. The operation posted consistently anti-Russia content," it was stated.
Facebook stressed that Ukraine has been among the top sources of the CIB activity it found and removed from its platform over the past few years, with the vast majority of deceptive campaigns targeting domestic audiences. Many of these operations that we disrupted since 2018 were linked to political parties and commercial entities like PR and ad agencies. From a global trend analysis, this signals the burgeoning industry of what Facebook calls IO-for-hire that offers media and social media services involving inauthentic assets and deceptive amplification across the internet.