By Helene Fung
Facebook removed a total of 443 Facebook accounts and 125 Instagram accounts across Indonesia, Nigeria, United Arab Emirates and Egypt for “coordinated inauthentic behaviour”, which its head of cybersecurity policy Nathaniel Gleicher said aimed “to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing”.
The accounts typically posted content localised for a specific country or region, and often directing users to off-platform sites.
Facebook first investigated a number of accounts in light of recent violence in Indonesia’s Papua and West Papua provinces. Investigations found that Indonesian media company InsightID was behind posts both in support of and against the West Papua independence movement, which it spent US$300,000 on ads to promote.
It also a range of pages promoting criticism of Iran, Turkey and Qatar, and found links to three marketing firms — Charles Communications in UAE, MintReach in Nigeria, and Flexell in Egypt.