Meta Removes Pro-US Accounts in Middle East and Central Asia

Meta confirmed on Tuesday it took down a network of accounts and pages across Instagram and Facebook that were reportedly operated by people associated with the US military.

The fake accounts had been operating under the guise of picturing the US in a favorable light in various countries in the Middle East and Central Asia.

“We removed 39 Facebook accounts, 16 Pages, two Groups and 26 accounts on Instagram for violating our policy against coordinated inauthentic behavior,” Meta wrote in its Adversarial Threat Report, Third Quarter 2022, on Tuesday.

“This network originated in the United States and focused on a number of countries including Afghanistan, Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Somalia, Syria, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Yemen.”

Further, Meta explained that the operation relied on many internet services, including Telegram, Twitter, YouTube, Odnoklassniki and VKontakte.

“It included several clusters of fake accounts on our platforms, some of which were detected and disabled by our automated systems prior to our investigation. The majority of this operation’s posts had little to no engagement from authentic communities,” claimed Meta.

The company shared information about this network with researchers at Graphika and the Stanford Internet Observatory, who published their findings about this network’s activity in August.

“Although the people behind this operation attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, our investigation found links to individuals associated with the US military,” Meta wrote.

The social media giant’s latest report also includes information about two separate malicious operations Meta dismantled over the last quarter, located in China and Russia, respectively.

“We know that influence operations will keep evolving in response to our enforcement, and new deceptive behaviors will emerge,” Meta concluded. “We will continue to refine our enforcement and share our findings publicly.”

The report comes weeks after the social media company identified over 400 malicious Android and iOS apps that targeted people in order to steal their Facebook login information.

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