Facebook pulls large Russian disinformation campaigns aimed at Africa

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Facebook pulls large Russian disinformation campaigns aimed at Africa

Connected to IRA's Prigozhin.

Facebook has removed multiple misleading accounts, pages and groups originating in Russia that targeted members of the social network in African countries.

Nathan Gleicher, Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, said that the people behind the campaigns attempted to conceal their identities and that they were coordinating with each other.

Nevertheless, Facebook investigators connected the campaigns to wealthy Russian businessman Yevgeniy Prigozhin who has links to the country's president Vladimir Putin.

Prigozhin faces criminal charges in the United States for funding and organising interference in the 2016 American presidential elections, through his companies the Internet Research Agency and Concord Management.

Gleicher said the "coordinated inauthentic behaviour" operations targeted Madagascar, the Central African Republic, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, and Cameroon.

Hundreds of thousands of accounts followed one or more of the Russian disinformation pages on Facebook.

On top of the campaigns targeting the above African countries, Facebook also pulled accounts, pages and groups that focused on Sudan and Libya.

The pages posted criticism of US foreign policy, fake news, and shared stories from Russian state-controlled media Sputnik and RT.

In un-masking the disinformation campaigns, Facebook benefited from open source reporting and tips from the Stanford Internet Observatory, Gleicher said.

 

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