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Facebook Removes Over 400 Pakistani Accounts Due To ‘Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour’

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Facebook has taken down a network of at least 453 Pakistan-based Facebook accounts, 103 Pages, 78 Groups, and 107 Instagram accounts for engaging in ‘coordinated inauthentic behaviour’.

According to the Stanford Internet Observatory, the network engaged in mass reporting: the coordinated reporting of accounts ostensibly for violating a platform’s terms of service.

It said that since May 2020, the suspended network encouraged users to ‘mass-report accounts that were critical of Islam and the Pakistani government, and in some cases accounts that were part of the Ahmadi religious community’.

“These accounts shared links that brought users directly to Facebook’s site to report a specific account or account photo,” it added.

The report said: “The network appears to have primarily targeted Pakistanis and Indians; posts were in Urdu, Hindi, English, and Punjabi. Facebook reports that 70,000 accounts followed at least one of the Pages and 1.1 million users belonged to the Groups.”

The network also had messaging praising the Pakistani military, along with some Indian military fan pages and groups of unclear purpose, as per the observatory.

This is not the first public suspension of coordinated activity in Pakistan. In April 2019, Facebook suspended a network of accounts linked to the Inter-Services Public Relations wing of the Pakistani military.

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Naya Daur