The Indonesia operation involved a network of over 100 fake Facebook and Instagram accounts posting content in English and Indonesian either in support of or criticizing the Papua West independence movement, which is active in the quietest region of the country in Papua.
“This was a network of sites, designed to look like local media and defense organizations,” said David Agranovich, Facebook’s Global Head of Threat Intervention.
Facebook Inc. has announced that it has removed hundreds of sites, groups and accounts on its platforms for “unauthorized coordinated behavior” linked to three operations in Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Nigeria.
He told Reuters that his team, which had monitored Indonesia in light of rising tensions in Papua, had tracked down fake accounts that would distribute content, buy ads and send people to the site. others, at an Indonesian media firm called InsightID.
Reuters was not immediately able to reach the firm for comment.
There has been an assault on protests and riots since late August in Papua, which suffered some of its worst bloodshed in decades in September, with 33 people killed and scores injured.
Researchers had independently warned in September that there had been an increase in fake Twitter and Facebook accounts in Papua, with some fake accounts posting pro-government content.
The executive said the operation used fake accounts “to disguise themselves as local media organizations in a variety of those countries … and to reinforce the content they were posting.”
According to Agranovich, Facebook found evidence some of the sites had been acquired, with regular variable ownership, as well as deep links to the Egyptian newspaper El Fagr, “which is known for its sensationalist content”.
As a result of the investigation, Facebook has also removed official El Fagr media sites from its platforms, he said.
Reuters was unable to immediately contact El Fagr.
Facebook said the third network, which it tracked at three marketing firms in the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Nigeria, including fake accounts that spread content on topics such as the UAE’s activity in Yemen and the nuclear deal of Iran./Investing.com