Social media giant Facebook announced Tuesday that it has shut down three different groups behind the spread of disinformation in African nations, including one network the company traced to “individuals associated with French military.”
Facebook said the violations for “coordinated inauthentic behavior on behalf of a foreign or government entity” from the French group also targeted Niger, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Cote d’Ivoire and Chad. All told, Facebook shut down 84 related accounts, six Pages, nine Groups and 14 accounts on Instagram. The French government has not yet commented on the findings of the Facebook investigation.
The other two groups involved Russians who, in at least one case, received comments on Facebook from the now-removed French actors as the latter critiqued Russian interference in the Central African Republic (CAR) and posted content on the security situation in Mali.
“The people behind this activity used fake accounts — some of which had already been detected and disabled by our automated systems — to pose as locals in the countries they targeted, post and comment on content, and manage Pages and Groups,” said Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook Head of Security Policy, and David Agranovich, Global Threat Disruption Lead.
“They posted primarily in French and Arabic about news and current events including France’s policies in Francophone Africa.”
Elsewhere, the Russian groups also targeted Libya, Sudan, Madagascar, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique and South Africa, as well as CAR ahead of its elections.
Image: Facebook file