207 Facebook Pages, 800 Facebook accounts, 546 Facebook Groups, and 208 Instagram accounts were removed.
Facebook announced that they have removed 207 Facebook Pages, 800 Facebook accounts, 546 Facebook Groups, and 208 Instagram accounts, for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior on Facebook in Indonesia, misleading others about who they were and what they were doing. All of these Pages, accounts and groups were linked to the Saracen Group – an online syndicate in Indonesia.
The Saracen Group’s coordinated abuse of the platform using inauthentic accounts is a violation of Facebook’s policies and they have therefore banned the entire organization from the platform.
Here’s a breakdown of what FB found:
Presence on Facebook and Instagram: 207 Pages, 800 accounts, and 546 groups on Facebook, as well as 208 Instagram accounts.
Followers: About 170,000 people followed at least one of these Facebook Pages, and more than 65,000 followed at least one of these Instagram accounts.
Examples of Pages and Groups removed as part of this network:
Permadi Arya (Page)
Kata Warga (Page)
Darknet ID (Page)
berita hari ini (Group)
ac milan indo (Group)
Facebook is taking down these Pages, groups and accounts based on their behavior, not the content they were posting. In this case, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves, and that was the basis for their action.
Facebook said that they are constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because they don’t want their services to be used to manipulate people. This announcement is just one of the many steps Facebook has taken to prevent bad actors from abusing the platform. Facebook will continue to invest heavily in safety and security in order to ensure that people can continue to trust the connections they make on Facebook.
Facebook also removed multiple Pages, groups and accounts that engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior on Facebook and Instagram in Iran. This activity was directed from Iran, in some cases repurposing Iranian state media content, and engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior targeting people across the world, although more heavily in the Middle East and South Asia. These were interconnected and localized operations, which used similar tactics by creating networks of accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing.
Facebook is constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because they don’t want their services to be used to manipulate people. Facebook is taking down these Pages, groups and accounts based on their behavior, not the content they post. In this case, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves, and that was the basis for Facebook’s action.
To ensure that Facebook stays ahead in rooting out abuse they are investing heavily in building better technology, hiring more people and working more closely with law enforcement, security experts and other technology companies. Their collaboration was critical to this investigation.
What was found this far:
This week, Facebook removed 783 Pages, groups and accounts for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior tied to Iran. There were multiple sets of activity, each localized for a specific country or region, including Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, US, and Yemen. The Page administrators and account owners typically represented themselves as locals, often using fake accounts, and posted news stories on current events. This included commentary that repurposed Iranian state media’s reporting on topics like Israel-Palestine relations and the conflicts in Syria and Yemen, including the role of the US, Saudi Arabia, and Russia. Some of the activity dates back to 2010. Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, Facebook’s manual review linked these accounts to Iran.
Presence on Facebook and Instagram: 262 Pages, 356 accounts, and 3 groups on Facebook, as well as 162 accounts on Instagram.
Followers: About 2 million accounts followed at least one of these Pages, about 1,600 accounts joined at least one of these groups, and more than 254,000 accounts followed at least one of these Instagram accounts.
Advertising: Less than $30,000 in spending for ads on Facebook and Instagram paid for primarily in US dollars, UK pounds, Canadian dollars, and euros. Facebook has not completed their review of the organic content coming from these accounts.
Events: 8 events hosted. The first was scheduled for May 2014, and the most recent was scheduled for May 2018. Up to 210 people expressed interest in at least one of these events. Facebook cannot confirm whether any of these events actually occurred.
Facebook identified some of these accounts through their continued investigation into Iranian coordinated inauthentic behavior they found and removed last year. Facebook’s investigation was aided by open source reporting and information provided to them by their industry peers. Facebook has shared information about their investigation with US law enforcement, the US Congress, and policymakers in impacted countries.