The Facebook crackdown on accounts engaged in “coordinated inauthentic behaviour” on its platform and on Instagram continues. “Combined with our takedown last Monday, we have removed 36 Facebook accounts, six Pages and 99 Instagram accounts for coordinated inauthentic behaviour,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy, said in a blog post on Wednesday. These accounts were mostly created after mid-2017, apart from a few outliers.
“We found a total of about 1.25 million people followed at least one of these Instagram accounts, with over 600,000 of them located in the US,” Gleicher added. On November 5, Facebook blocked 30 accounts on its platform and 85 accounts on Instagram. “We found a total of about 65,000 followers of at least one of the Facebook Pages, which contained posts almost exclusively in French. About 60 followers were located in the US,” said Facebook.
There was about $4,500 in ad spend from these Pages, and none of the ads ran in the US. “We didn’t find any ad spend on Instagram, and these accounts seem to have mostly been in English,” the social networking giant added.
On November 6, a website claiming to be associated with the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a Russia-based troll farm, published a list of Instagram accounts they said that they had created. “We had already blocked most of them, and based on our internal investigation, we blocked the rest,” said Gleicher.
On November 4, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) tipped Facebook off about online activity that they believed was linked to foreign entities. “Based on this tip-off, we quickly identified a set of accounts that appeared to be engaged in the coordinated inauthentic behaviour,” said the company.