Facebook Cracks Down on Fake Accounts Originating From The Russian Kremlin

By Nitish Singh / January 17, 2019

There have been a number of fake accounts spotted on Facebook over the years that conduct misinformation campaigns for the Kremlin. After it was revealed that the U.S. presidential elections were manipulated on the social media platform, Facebook has been cracking down on such activity following harsh criticism.

A total of 512 accounts were removed as part of Facebook’s latest crackdown. The platform revealed on its blog that the fake accounts were clearly operating based on the geopolitical interests of the Kremlin and they all displayed “coordinated inauthentic behavior.” With elections in Europe scheduled for later this year, the social media giant needs to be vigilant about any suspicious activity and external political campaigns.

One of the ongoing operations by the Kremlin on Facebook was targeting Ukraine as well as other countries in Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, the Baltics and the Caucasus. Around 290 pages were part of the campaign with 75 accounts actively spreading misinformation with none of them being linked to Instagram. The campaign saw an expenditure of $135,000 with it being paid in three different currencies. The campaigns run by these accounts date all the way back to 2015.

Facebook Cracks Down on Fake Accounts Originating from The Kremlin

Image Courtesy of Facebook

Facebook also received a tip from the US law enforcement that led to the removal of 107 Facebook pages and their associated accounts along with 41 Instagram accounts that operated from Ukraine. The fake accounts represented themselves and Ukrainian individuals and shared local news while also including fake news similar to IRA activity that was taken action against last year. Approximately $25,000 was spent on the campaign with the first advertisement being published in January last year and it operated until the end of 2018 when the associated pages and accounts were removed.

What do you think about the misinformation campaigns on Facebook? Let us know in the comments below. Don’t forget to also share your thoughts with our online community as well, on Twitter and Facebook.

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