Facebook bans a network of fake accounts that were trying to influence UK politics

facebook ceo mark zuckerbergFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., on April 11, 2018.REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

Facebook has taken down a network of fake accounts that were attempting to influence British political debate.

On Thursday, the Silicon Valley social networking giant announced it had detected a group of 137 accounts, pages, and groups across Facebook and Instagram that "[engaged] in coordinated inauthentic behavior as part of a domestic-focused network in the UK."

The groups and pages alternately presented themselves as part of the far-right, and as anti-far right activists, Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy Nathaniel Gleicher wrote in a blog post, "to engage in hate speech and spread divisive comments on both sides of the political debate in the UK ... They frequently posted about local and political news including topics like immigration, free speech, racism, LGBT issues, far-right politics, issues between India and Pakistan, and religious beliefs including Islam and Christianity."

The Atlantic Council was given access to some of the content to analyse prior to the takedown, and wrote in a blog post:

"Overall, the network seemed designed to amplify pro-Islam and anti-extremist messaging, including by engaging with anti-Islam commentators. The pages and groups were administered by a cluster of accounts that claimed to be based in the United Kingdom, Pakistan, and Egypt and appeared to have a broader interest in Pakistan."

This story is developing...

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