Facebook removes international networks linked to online disinformation

Facebook-owner Meta has revealed that it took down six international networks for violations of its security policies this year.

Four networks located in China, Palestine, Poland, and Belarus were removed for what Meta describes as ‘Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour (CIB).

CIB has been described by Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, as when groups of pages or people work together to mislead others about who they are or what they're doing.

The company has recently added two new protocols to its security policy – brigading, where people work together to mass comment, mass post or engage in other types of repetitive mass behaviours to harass others or silence them, and mass reporting.

Another network operating out of Italy and France, which targeted medical professionals, journalists, and elected officials with “mass harassment," was removed from the platform for brigading, while one in Vietnam was taken down for mass reporting.

In China, Meta removed 524 Facebook accounts, 20 pages, four Groups, and 86 accounts on Instagram.

The network originated primarily in China and targeted global English-speaking audiences in the United States and United Kingdom, and also Chinese-speaking audiences in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Tibet.

“We began looking into this activity after reviewing public reporting about the single fake account at the centre of this operation,” said Meta. “Our investigation found links to individuals in mainland China, including employees of Sichuan Silence Information Technology Co, Ltd, an information security firm, and individuals associated with Chinese state infrastructure companies located around the world.”

In Palestine, the tech giant removed 141 Facebook accounts, 79 pages, 13 groups, and 21 Instagram accounts from the Gaza Strip that primarily targeted people in Palestine and to a much lesser extent in Egypt and Israel.

The company found this activity as part of an internal investigation into suspected CIB in the region and linked it to Hamas.

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