Social media giant Facebook says it has removed a network of accounts based in Egypt that targeted countries across North Africa and the Middle East with inauthentic political messages, including some of the same groups it took offline in August and October 2019.
“Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, our investigation found links to two marketing firms in Egypt, New Waves and Flexell, which were behind the activity,” said Facebook. The details were in a monthly report Facebook issues to review its efforts to crack down on fake news, hate speech and other targeted and manipulative messages that violate its policies.
Facebook said it removed a network of 333 Facebook accounts, 195 Pages, nine Groups and 1194 Instagram accounts. “Both of these companies and individuals associated with them have repeatedly violated our Inauthentic Behavior policy and are now banned from Facebook,” they added.
Those responsible posted video, images and links to news that claimed Qatar, Turkey and Libya’s Tripoli-based Government of National Accord support terrorism, while praising the United Arab Emirates.
They also posted about the war in Libya, the killing of Qassim Suleimani and Qatar’s alleged role in it, protests in Iran, the alleged spread of diseases in Qatar, criticism of Al Jazeera, and other events across the Middle East.
Similar posts made in August included Iran’s activity in Yemen, the conflict in Libya, successes of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, and independence for Somaliland. Flexell was also implicated in October, as was Nigerian company MintReach, according to Facebook.