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    Removing Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior From Russia, Iran, Vietnam and Myanmar


    Today, we removed three unconnected networks of accounts, Pages and Groups for engaging in foreign or government interference — which is coordinated inauthentic behavior on behalf of a government or foreign actor — on Facebook and Instagram. The first operation originated in Russia and primarily targeted Ukraine and its neighboring countries. The second originated in Iran and focused mainly on the US. The third network originated in Myanmar and Vietnam and targeted audiences in Myanmar. Each of them created networks of accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing. We have shared information about our findings with industry partners.

    We’re constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because we don’t want our services to be used to manipulate people. We’re taking down these Pages, Groups and accounts based on their behavior, not the content they posted. In each of these cases, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves, and that was the basis for our action.

    We are making progress rooting out this abuse, but as we’ve said before, it’s an ongoing challenge. We’re committed to continually improving to stay ahead. That means building better technology, hiring more people and working closer with law enforcement, security experts and other companies.

    What We’ve Found So Far

    Today, we removed 78 Facebook accounts, 11 Pages, 29 Groups and four Instagram accounts for violating our policy against foreign or government interference. This activity originated in Russia and focused primarily on Ukraine and neighboring countries.

    The individuals behind this activity posed as locals and used fake accounts — some of which had already been detected and disabled by our automated systems — to manage Groups and Pages, post and comment on various content. Some of these accounts represented themselves as citizen journalists and tried to contact policymakers, journalists and other public figures in the region. The Page admins and account owners typically posted content in Russian, English and Ukrainian about local and political news including public figures in Ukraine, Russian military engagement in Syria, alleged SBU leaks related to ethnic tensions in Crimea and the downing of the Malaysian airliner in Ukraine in 2014. Although the people behind this network attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, our investigation found links to Russian military intelligence services.

    • Presence on Facebook and Instagram: 78 Facebook accounts, 11 Pages, 29 Groups and 4 accounts on Instagram.
    • Followers: About 500 accounts followed one or more of these Pages, about 6,150 accounts joined at least one of these Groups and around 100 people followed one or more of these Instagram accounts.

    We found this activity as part of our internal investigations into Russia-linked, suspected coordinated inauthentic behavior in the region.

    Below is a sample of the content posted by some of these Pages:

    Screenshot of content posted by some of these Pages
    Reshare text: Hot summer for the MH17 investigation team?”Malaysian authorities ask for the proof that Russia is to be responsible for the tragedy of the MH17 Malaysia Airlines in Donbass region in 2014, said the country’s prime minister Mahathir bin Mohamad. According to him, Malaysia agreed with the investigation report made in Netherlands, but only until the clause which indicates that the plane was hit with a missile by Russia. “They blame Russia, but where is the proof? We know that the missile that hit the plane was of the Russian type, but it could also have been produced in Ukraine”, he mentioned.Netherlands and all the “Civilized World” have already relaxed, being sure that this catastrophe will disappear from the agenda quietly and unnoticed, becoming just another mystery like Kennedy Assassination or the 9/11. Proved, didn’t prove, found, didn’t find – what’s the difference? They already started to forget the PROMISED TRIBUNAL… The funding for the ‘investigation’ has been already issued by three countries up until 2023, teams of bureaucrats formed, all lined up to allocate the funds… So they just sat there, didn’t bother anyone, got the bucks while having imitated the frenzied activity, and..here you go! They have to write it anew, and this time for REAL.. And what has gotten into the Malaysian prime minister, who in one announcement nullified all the 5-year-long ‘work’ and ‘achievements’ of the Europeans???)It seems to me that this summer will be hot for some…
    Screenshot of content posted by some of these Pages
    Caption: Shortage of 200 tons of fuel and faulty canned goods found during the inspection in the 46th Unified Supply Center Link: “Treason of the Armed Forces of Ukraine”: Poltorak revoked the grade title from military officers due to the scandalous embezzlement of 200 tons of fuel

    Screenshot of content posted by some of these Pages

    We also removed 6 Facebook accounts and 5 Instagram accounts that were involved in foreign interference as part of a small network originating in Iran that primarily focused on the US.

    The individuals behind this activity used fake accounts — some of which had been previously detected and disabled by our automated systems — to post in Groups and comment on content. Some of them attempted to contact public figures. They shared posts about political news and geopolitics including topics like the US elections, Christianity, US-Iran relations, US immigration policy, criticism of US policies in the Middle East and public figures as well as video interviews with academics, public figures and columnists on issues related to Iran and US elections.

    • Presence on Facebook and Instagram: 6 Facebook accounts and 5 accounts on Instagram.
    • Followers: About 60 people followed one or more of these Instagram accounts.

    We found this activity as part of our internal investigations into Iran-linked suspected coordinated inauthentic behavior, which exhibited some links to the network we had removed in January 2019.

    Below is a sample of the content posted by some of these Pages:

    Screenshot of content posted by some of these Pages

    Screenshot of content posted by some of these Pages

     

    Screenshot of content posted by some of these Pages

    Finally, we removed 13 Facebook accounts and 10 Pages for violating our policy against coordinated inauthentic behavior. This Myanmar-focused activity originated in Myanmar and Vietnam.

    The individuals behind this network used fake accounts to manage Pages posing as independent telecom consumer news hubs. They also purported to be customers of some of the telecom providers in Myanmar posting critical commentary about those companies and their services. The Page admins and account owners typically shared content in English and Burmese about alleged business failures and planned market exit of some service providers in Myanmar, and their alleged fraudulent activity against their customers. Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, our investigation found links to two telecom providers — Mytel in Myanmar and Viettel in Vietnam — and Gapit Communications, a PR firm in Vietnam.

    • Presence on Facebook: 13 Facebook accounts and 10 Pages.
    • Followers: About 265,600 accounts followed one or more of these Pages.
    • Advertising: Around $1,155,000 in spending for ads on Facebook paid for in US dollars and Vietnamese dong.

    We found this activity as part of our investigations into suspected coordinated inauthentic behavior in the region.

    Below is a sample of the content posted by some of these Pages:

    Screenshot of content posted by some of these Pages
    Translation of the title of Meme: Types of Thieves:
    First Frame: Beginner
    “Give me all your money!”
    Second Frame: Expert
    “WaveMoney: Would you like to transfer/withdraw your cash?”
    Screenshot of content posted by some of these Pages
    Translation of the post from Myanmar Telecom Promotions. Our Myanmar nationals, let us stand together. If you are Myanmar and love Myanmar, please stand with me. Let’s join by liking and sharing this post. If you have not heard, we would like to share about the new policy set by SaNyaNa. There is no longer Welcome Bonus or Top-Up Bonus. This means that although 25 millions of Myanmar people are away from telecommunication services, there will be a rise in price by approximately 40%. In Asia, although Myanmar people are being way underpaid, they have to pay overly high-price for telecommunications services. Why is SaNyaNa looking for a way to stop promotions and remove bonuses? We need your help. Share this post and let others know. For SaNyaNa, we would like you to reduce the prices and provide the opportunity to further improve Myanmar. Translation of the text in the image 1: Please do not increase the price. Fulfill your responsibility. We are impoverished and please do not increase the price. Translation of the text in the image 2: Monthly income and (Internet) Data Price Blue Legend: Monthly Income Yellow: Data Price Recommended action: Ignore as it does not violate any of the IS policies.

    Screenshot of content posted by some of these Pages



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