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Facebook removes more pages, accounts linked to ‘inauthentic’ Russian operators

Facebook mobile app on a cellphone. (

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Facebook said it has removed more pages and accounts that are believed to have originated in Russia and were involved in “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”

In an announcement posted on its corporate blog on May 6, the world’s largest social-media company said it targeted groups and pages that were being deceptive about who was behind them and what they were up to.

The takedown included accounts on its Instagram photo-sharing platform, Facebook said.

“We found two separate, unconnected operations that originated in Russia and used similar tactics, creating networks of accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, wrote in the post.

The “coordinated inauthentic behavior” was “part of a small network emanating from Russia that focused on Austria, the Baltics, Germany, Spain, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom,” he said.

Ukraine was the focus of 97 Facebook accounts, pages, or groups removed from the social network, he wrote.

Posts by the account typically involved local and political news, the military conflict in eastern Ukraine, the war in Syria, and Russian politics.

Facebook did not disclose the identities of those behind the accounts.

The move is part of the latest effort by the social-media giant to cut down on the number of false and deceptive accounts that have proliferated on the platform in recent years.

U.S. intelligence agencies say Facebook and other social-media platforms were used by a Russian company called the Internet Research Agency to sow discord and spread misinformation in the run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted the company, its purported owner, and several others for their use of fake Facebook accounts during the 2016 election.