LONDON (Reuters) – Facebook Inc identified and suspended 17 disinformation networks on its platforms in December, representing its largest monthly takedown, the U.S. tech giant said on Tuesday.
The social media company said it had suspended a little more than 2,800 accounts and pages on its main platform and photo-sharing site, Instagram, for using fake identities and other forms of so-called “coordinated inauthentic behaviour”.
The activity spanned 11 countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Morocco, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. In most of those countries, the networks were focused on forthcoming elections and run by domestic groups, Facebook said.
“Deceptive campaigns like these raise a complex challenge by blurring the line between healthy public debate and manipulation,” the company said in a blog post.
Three of the networks announced on Tuesday were first exposed last month and used by rival French and Russian groups to spread competing narratives in the Central African Republic ahead of the country’s parliamentary election.
Facebook’s operations chief Sheryl Sandberg said on Monday the company had no plans to lift its block on the accounts of U.S. President Donald Trump as it clamped down on a misleading phrase that has become a rallying cry for Trump’s supporters.
(Reporting by Jack Stubbs; Editing by Bernadette Baum)