Facebook announced that it had deleted more than 300 accounts, pages and groups linked to propaganda campaigns to which certain Moroccan media outlets are linked. A propaganda network was using hundreds of fake accounts to manipulate the Moroccan public, a social network report said.
In its report dated February 2021, the Facebook group reported nearly 400 accounts deleted in Morocco because they violated the conditions of use of the social network. All of them were used to manipulate the audience and make the content shared seem more popular than it was.
These accounts were linked to campaigns of “inauthentic” behavior aimed at “manipulating the public” and the debate on social networks, indicates Facebook in its report on “coordinated inauthetic behavior” (CIB).
The post is full of details and indicates that several media have posted pro-government reports and publications online, but Facebook has cited only one outlet in particular, known to make the buzz on Youtube among others.
“We are constantly working to find and stop coordinated campaigns that seek to manipulate the public debate on our apps,” Facebook said before explaining that for the past three and a half years, these Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior (CIB) campaigns have been shared with the public in these reports.
The social network further explains that CIB campaigns are of two different types, the first being part of “national non-governmental campaigns” and the second being “on behalf of a foreign or governmental actor”.
These campaigns use fake accounts deemed “at the heart of the operation” to manipulate the public debate “for a strategic objective”. Once detected, these fake profiles, groups and pages are deleted, and the data collected is then shared monthly.
As research on these deceptive campaigns is carried out around the world, only 5 networks were detected in 4 different countries in February. These are Thailand, Morocco, Russia, and Iran (where two types of networks have been detected and people outside Iran have been targeted).
Concerning the three other countries of which Morocco is part, the campaigns have targeted the national audiences of the countries in question and not abroad or foreigners.
Thus, in Morocco, Facebook deleted a total of 385 Facebook accounts, 6 pages and 40 Instagram accounts originating mainly from Morocco and targeting national audiences. And this network was detected following preliminary information shared by the NGO Amnesty International.
“About 150,000 accounts followed one or more of these pages and about 2,500 people followed one or more of these Instagram accounts,” the report says.
In detail, Facebook indicates that this network used an army of fake accounts to publish the same content several times in different groups in order to create a buzz around the shared content and reach as many audiences as possible.
And the social network added that automated systems had already managed to identify some accounts that were deleted, but it took more research to find that it was a network and not just singular events. .
These fake accounts are not confined to posting content on several groups and pages, but also commented on information and news stories shared by different media, including the one pinned by Facebook.
The published content was written in Arabic and French and could also be “memes”, adds Mark Zuckerbeg’s social network.