Facebook just took down hundreds of accounts connected to the Saudi Arabian government, which were being used to spread propaganda
- Facebook on Thursday said it took down a vast network of fan pages and fake accounts that were linked to the Saudi Arabian government.
- The social network suspended more than 350 different accounts and pages, which had about 1.4 million followers.
- Facebook said the operation, which built fake people and accounts, was designed to increase support for the Saudi Arabian government while attacking its enemies.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Facebook on Thursday announced it had taken down hundreds of fake accounts originating from Saudi Arabia, which were designed to mislead people and bolster support for the Saudi government.
In a Facebook Newsroom post, the company's head of cybersecurity policy Nathaniel Gleicher shared that Facebook had discovered, and suspended, two separate operations: one originated from Saudi Arabia, while the other began in Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The two operations were not linked, according to Facebook.
In total, Facebook said it removed 217 accounts, 144 pages, five groups and 31 Instagram accounts "that were involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior originating from Saudi Arabia."
According to Gleicher, people created fake pages and accounts, plus "masqueraded as local news organizations," to talk about local news and political issues - usually in a positive light. Posts touched on the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and the "successes of the Saudi Armed Forces" in Yemen. They also created negative posts that criticized "neighboring countries including Iran, Qatar and Turkey, and called into question the credibility of Al-Jazeera news network and Amnesty International," according to Facebook.
"Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our review found links to individuals associated with the government of Saudi Arabia," Gleicher said.
Facebook shared a couple of examples of these inauthentic posts, including one that was dated on November 6, 2018. We reached out to Facebook to ask how long the social network was aware of this behavior; we will update this story when we learn more.
Facebook says the individuals responsible for these posts spent about $108,000 on Facebook and Instagram ads, and their posts reached about 1.4 million accounts.
- 'Quiet quitting' is a bad idea, experts say. Here are 6 things you can do instead to get the same results if you're looking for better work-life balance – or to lighten your workload
- Airtel 5G launched in eight cities, entire country to be covered by 2024
- This pioneering regional OTT has turned profitable in 5 years – here’s how
- Putin signs unification treaties for new regions
- Meta shuts Bulletin newsletter, refocuses on algorithm to take on TikTok
- Biden sends letter to Yoon expressing willingness for talks on IRA
- India reports 2,468 fresh Covid cases, 17 deaths
- TRS meeting underway to convert itself into national party