World most largest media platforms literally referred to as gaint social network Facebook has officially taken down all accounts (real or fake) related to Saudi Arabia government/profile. This was revealed in an official statement on Thursday by, Nathaniel Gleicher, the head of Facebook’s cybersecurity policy.
According to Gleicher they had removed multiple pages and groups that were involved in “coordinated inauthentic behavior” on Facebook and Instagram. Facebook has removed over 217 accounts, 144 Pages, 5 groups and 31 Instagram accounts “originating from Saudi Arabia, focused primarily on the Middle East and Northern Africa, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan“.
Gleicher also revealed that their team detected two separate operations , one originating in the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, and another in Saudi Arabia. “The two campaigns we removed were unconnected, but both created networks of accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing,” he said, confirming that Facebook shared the findings with law enforcement, industry partners and policymakers”.
“The people behind this network used compromised and fake accounts, majority of which had already been detected and disabled by our automated systems”. “They also impersonated public figures and managed Pages – some of which changed names and admins – posing as local news organizations in targeted countries and promoting content about UAE”.
According to reports from VOA(Voice Of America) A Facebook address sign was seen at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California.
This action is taken as an effort to end what it described as “inauthentic behavior”.
The U.S. company said online posts both promoted domestic policies and took aim at regional rivals and were often portrayed as local news outlets. “Postings focused on, among other things, “Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, his economic and social reform plan, “Vision 2030,” and successes of the Saudi Armed Forces, particularly during the conflict in Yemen”.
“They also frequently shared criticism of neighboring countries, including Iran, Qatar and Turkey, and called into question the credibility of the Al-Jazeera television channel and rights group Amnesty International”. According to Facebook, approximately 1.4 million people followed at least one of the accounts linked to Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile America regulators and lawmakers have applied increased scrutiny on Facebook as intelligence officials confirmed Russians using social media sites to meddle in U.S. elections.
“We’re constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because we don’t want our services to be used to manipulate people,” said Gleicher. “We’re taking down these pages, groups and accounts based on their behavior, not the content they posted.”
We must note that this is the first time Facebook has identified Saudi Arabia as being behind deceptive social media messages. Gleicher said the individuals created fictitious personas to run pages and groups , disseminate their content, increase engagement and drive people to an “off-platform” domain. “Postings focused on, among other things like Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, his economic and social reform plan, Vision 2030 and successes of the Saudi Armed Forces particularly during the conflict in Yemen” Gleicher added.
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