Facebook on Monday said that it has removed 712 accounts and 390 pages in India and Pakistan because of “inauthentic behavior” and spamming.
Much of the spam accounts and pages linked to India’s main opposition Congress party days before elections and Pakistan’s military.
“We didn’t find any links between the campaigns we’ve removed today, but they used similar tactics by creating networks of accounts to mislead others,” Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cyber security policy at Facebook, said in a statement.
“When we remove one of these networks, the reason we remove them is because of their coordinated inauthentic behaviour, that they are using a network of fake accounts to conceal their identity….to mislead who’s behind them. That’s the basic reason for removal,” said Gleicher.
“We are constantly working to detect and stop coordinated inauthentic behaviour because we don’t want our services to be used to manipulate people. We’re taking down these pages and accounts based on their behaviour, not the content they posted,” he added.
Among the most significant removals, Facebook said it took down 549 accounts and 138 pages linked to India’s Congress for “coordinated inauthentic behavior”.
Gleicher also said that, “we have reached out to the INC to educate them about what we have seen and answer questions they have. We have also reached out to policy makers and government to ensure that they understand the types of behaviour we are seeing and what we are learning”.
Facebook said it also banned some accounts linked to an Indian company “associated with” a mobile app promoted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Meanwhile in Pakistan, Facebook removed 57 accounts, 24 pages, seven groups and 15 Instagram accounts, also for inauthentic behavior, as part of a network which originated in Pakistan and was linked to employees of a unit of the Pakistani military.