Content from one of the Ukraine-based networks that was removed

By David Cohen

2 hours ago

Coordinated inauthentic behavior kept Facebook busy in December 2020, as the social network removed 17 networks, setting a new monthly high.

The social network said in a Newsroom post that it removed a total of 1,957 Facebook accounts, 707 Instagram accounts, 156 pages and 727 groups.

Facebook said at least 12 of the accounts targeted audiences in their own countries, while at least five were focused on people outside of their countries.

At least 12 of the networks were also focused on elections, primarily but not exclusively on behalf of domestic actors.

At least seven of the networks removed by Facebook last month ran pages that posed as news entities sharing local updates about current events.

At least 10 of the 17 networks in the December 2020 report were discovered in collaborations with researchers, investigative journalists and local civil society organizations.

Finally, Facebook said the “vast majority” of networks it removed in December were detected in the early stages of building their audiences.

A complete report is available here, and details on each of the 17 networks follow:

  • Iran: Four accounts primarily targeting Arabic-, English- and French-speaking audiences globally, centered around off-platform typo-squatting domains.
  • Morocco: 255 accounts, 93 pages, 17 groups and 60 Instagram accounts targeting Morocco and Algeria.
  • Ukraine: 23 accounts, 25 pages, 11 groups and 19 Instagram accounts originating in the Luhansk region in Ukraine and targeting Belarus, Germany, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Spain, the U.K. and Ukraine.
  • Ukraine: 13 accounts, 31 pages, six groups and three Instagram accounts domestically focused and linked to individuals associated with non-governmental organization Anti-Corruption Blockpost.
  • Ukraine: 27 accounts, 37 pages, 21 groups and 13 Instagram accounts focused on domestic audiences.
  • Kyrgyzstan: 193 accounts, 246 pages, 50 groups and 30 Instagram accounts targeting domestic audiences.
  • Kyrgyzstan: 92 accounts, four pages, 11 groups and 30 Instagram accounts, domestically focused and commenting on their content and on posts by a political party and specific news pages.
  • Kyrgyzstan: 121 accounts, 46 pages, seven groups and 41 Instagram accounts targeting domestic audiences.
  • Kyrgyzstan: 31 accounts, one group and 28 Instagram accounts focused on domestic audiences.
  • Argentina: 663 accounts and 388 Instagram accounts focused on domestic audiences, primarily inauthentically amplifying posts and news articles related to Sergio Berni, Buenos Aires’ minister of security.
  • Brazil: 25 accounts, three pages and 10 Instagram accounts targeting two municipalities in Paraná, Almirante Tamandaré and Colombo.
  • Brazil: 34 accounts and 18 Instagram accounts focused on three municipalities in the state of Espiríto Santo—Serra, Vitória and Cariacica.
  • Pakistan: 27 accounts, seven pages and 23 Instagram accounts targeting domestic audiences.
  • Indonesia: 107 accounts, 58 pages and 34 Instagram accounts focused on domestic audiences.
  • France: 84 accounts, six pages, nine groups and 14 Instagram accounts primarily targeting the Central African Republic and Mali and, to a lesser extent, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire and Niger (previously reported).
  • Russia: 61 accounts, 29 pages, seven groups and one Instagram account primarily targeting the Central African Republic and, to a lesser extent, Cameroon, the CAR diaspora in France, Equatorial Guinea, Madagascar, Mozambique and South Africa (previously reported).
  • Russia: 197 accounts, 122 pages, 16 groups and 15 Instagram accounts focused primarily on Libya, Sudan, and Syria (previously reported).