On Wednesday (October 30), Facebook announced that it got rid of a number of Russian-influenced accounts for interfering in foreign political affairs.
According to CNBC, the social media tech giant made an early morning disclosure about disbanding accounts, which were suspected of engaging in manipulative activity. The activity started in Russia but apparently spread to a number of nations in Africa as well. The deleted accounts were said to have been connected to Russian financier Yevgeniy Prigozhin.
Prigozhin was one of the numerous Russians who was indicted last year by the U.S. Justice Department of Justice for interfering in the 2016 presidential election.
“[These manipulative accounts] originated in Russia and targeted Madagascar, Central African Republic, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Sudan and Libya,” wrote Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s Head of Cybersecurity Policy.
“Each of these operations created networks of accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing. Although the people behind these networks attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, our investigation connected these campaigns to entities associated with [a] Russian financier,” Gleicher’s statement also reads.
In his statement on Facebook’s behalf, Gleicher expressed his company’s desire to deter malicious usage carried out by culprits overseas who have illegal and bad intentions.
“We are making progress rooting out this abuse, but as we’ve said before, it’s an ongoing challenge. We’re committed to continually improving to stay ahead. That means building better technology, hiring more people and working closer with law enforcement, security experts and other companies,” he continued.
Facebook reportedly removed 35 personal accounts, 53 Facebook pages, seven group pages, and five Instagram accounts in its international sweep. About $77,000 dollars worth of advertising revenue was spent on these manipulative campaigns, which was all paid for in U.S. currency.
April 2018 was when the first of these manipulative ad campaigns was run and October 2019 was when the most recent one was run.