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Facebook Removes Accounts Of ‘ISPR Employees’ Over ‘Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour’

Social Media giant Facebook on Monday removed 103 ‘assets’ e.g. pages, groups and profiles allegedly linked to employees of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) over ‘coordinated inauthentic behaviour’ – or spam.

“Today we removed 103 pages, groups and accounts for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behaviour on Facebook and Instagram as part of a network that originated in Pakistan,” Facebook’s Cyber Security head Nathaniel Gleicher said.

He added that although people behind the accounts attempted to conceal their identities, they were ‘linked to the ISPR of the Pakistani military’. The takedown was because the account owners were attempting to conceal their identity and make it look as if the accounts were independent, ‘when they were part of a coordinated operation’.

He added that Facebook could not say whether the activity was directed by the organisation or the employees were acting on their own.

Two of the 103 accounts suspended by Facebook. (Source: Dawn)

Gleicher said that Facebook was ‘highly sure’ of the identity of the people running the accounts. According to Facebook, the network in Pakistan was spread across 24 pages on Facebook and Instagram, 57 Facebook accounts, seven Facebook groups, and 15 Instagram accounts.

“The individuals behind this activity used fake accounts to operate military fan pages; general Pakistani interest pages; Kashmir community pages; and hobby and news pages,” Gleicher said.

He also revealed that the 103 accounts had an aggregate of 2.8 million followers. Moreover, around $1,100 was spent on advertising from 2015 to 2018.

Gleicher also told Dawn that they are in touch with Pakistani ‘policy makers’ over the matter.

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Facebook has also taken down hundreds of accounts in India and Philippines citing similar reasons.

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