Facebook Removed Around 700 Pages & Accounts Linked To this National Party

Tooba Maher
Tooba Maher

Facebook has removed 687 pages and accounts today. These pages and accounts were linked to individuals associated with an IT Cell of the Congress party as it cracks down on fake accounts and spam ahead of national elections. 

These accounts were part of a coordinated network and were removed for "inauthentic behaviour" and for pushing spam rather than for content or fake news. 

However, no immediate comments could be obtained from the Congress in this regard. Facebook Head of Cyber security Policy Nathaniel Gleicher told reporters that Facebook has removed 687 Facebook Pages and accounts. The majority of which had already been detected and suspended by its automated systems that engaged in coordinated inauthentic behaviour in India. They were linked to individuals associated with an IT Cell of the Indian National Congress (INC). 

He added, "When we remove one of these networks, the reason we remove them is because of their coordinated inauthentic behaviour, that they are using network of fake accounts to conceal their identity to mislead who's behind them. That's the basic reason for removal."   

"We are constantly working to detect and stop coordinated inauthentic behaviour because we don't want our services to be used to manipulate people. We're taking down these pages and accounts based on their behaviour, not the content they posted," added Mr Gleicher. 

Facebook has recently started providing details of political ads on its platform in a bid to enhance transparency. It is also strengthening its team of fact checkers and deploying technology tools to flag fake news. 

Mr Gleicher said, "We have reached out to the INC to educate them about what we have seen and answer questions they have. We have also reached out to policy makers and government to ensure that they understand the types of behaviour we are seeing and what we are learning". 

He explained that the page admins and account owners typically posted about local news and political issues, including topics like the upcoming elections, candidate views, the INC and criticism of political opponents including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).  

"While the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our review found that it was connected to individuals associated with an INC IT Cell," Mr Gleicher said. 

Facebook has also removed 15 pages, groups and accounts for engaging in "coordinated inauthentic behaviour" on Facebook and Instagram that were linked to individuals associated with an Indian IT firm, Silver Touch.

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