Facebook removes fake accounts linked to Egypt and France

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Facebook deleted 81 accounts, 82 pages, a group, and 76 Instagram accounts linked to Egypt for engaging in “unauthentic coordinated behavior.”

Angela Lang / CNET

Facebook said Thursday it had deleted more than 300 fake accounts, pages and groups linked to France and Egypt in March, including some who posed as media and shared content on various topics, including the novel coronavirus.

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This fake Facebook page post claims that Egypt is the safest place to travel in 2020.

Facebook

The company deleted 81 Facebook accounts, 82 pages, a group, and 76 Instagram accounts linked to Egypt for engaging in “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” meaning that those who managed these accounts were misleading others about their identities and motivations. . In collaboration with Twitter, Facebook said it found links to an Egyptian marketing company called Maat. These accounts are frequently published in Arabic and some advertise themselves as media, sharing content on topics such as the civil war in Yemen and Libya, the coronavirus and sports. CNET could not reach Maat immediately.

“Some of this news was about the coronavirus as you would expect, because it is a critical issue in public debate today,” said Nathaniel Gleicher, who heads cybersecurity policy at Facebook. The discussion of the coronavirus was still “fairly limited,” he added, and was one of many topics published by the fake Facebook pages. A one-page article titled “Egyptian House” said that Egypt was the safest country for tourists in 2020.

Another network of fake Facebook accounts was linked to the Sète region in France. These accounts shared content in French on local news topics such as municipal elections and immigration. The social network has deleted 51 Facebook accounts, nine pages and nine Instagram accounts linked to France. A Facebook page disguised as Politico media and shared a post that said “Why should you vote for Sébastien Pacull in the next municipal elections?” “

Facebook released the new data the same day that Twitter reported deleting 20,348 accounts linked to Egypt, Honduras, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Serbia who were taking instructions from the government, sharing articles from suspicious websites, or pushing pro- government.

Gleicher said the accounts removed from Twitter were linked to networks that Facebook had already deleted in 2019. Some accounts linked to Serbia were deleted for violating Facebook’s spam policies.

“Actors often use different platforms in different ways,” he said.



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