has announced it removed hundreds of pages, groups and accounts on its platforms for “coordinated inauthentic behavior” linked to operations in the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Nigeria, according to a Reuters report.
David Agranovitch, Facebook’s Global Lead for Threat Disruption said Facebook removed fake accounts related to two networks in the Middle East and Africa.
One, according to Facebook, was based out of Egypt, but targeted the rest of the region by posting content in support of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, as well as criticism of Qatar, Iran, Turkey and Yemen’s separatist movement.
The executive said this operation used fake accounts “to masquerade as local media organizations in a variety of those countries…and amplify the content they were posting.”
According to Agranovitch, Facebook found evidence some of the accounts had been purchased, with regular changing ownerships, as well as deep links to Egyptian newspaper El Fagr, “which is known for its sensationalistic content.”
As a result of the investigation, Facebook has also removed El Fagr’s official media pages from its platforms, he said.
Reuters was not able to immediately contact El Fagr.
Facebook said the second network, which it tracked to three marketing firms in the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Nigeria, involved fake accounts which spread on content on topics like UAE’s activity in Yemen and the Iran nuclear deal.
Earlier this year, it removed accounts from Iraq, Ukraine, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Thailand, Honduras and Israel.