The company called it a “historic” decision.
Facebook has really been cleaning house lately.
On Tuesday, the social-networking behemoth announced it had removed 2,632 Facebook pages, Groups and accounts that “engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior” on both Facebook and Instagram. This follows months of fake profile crackdowns.
Just over 500 of those accounts were tied to Iran, while almost 2,000 were linked to Russia, Facebook said.
“The Page administrators and account owners represented themselves as locals and made-up media entities, often using fake accounts – and they impersonated real political groups and media organizations,” Facebook said in a blog post.
Most of the accounts were removed for spamming, according to the statement. Some of the accounts were set up to spread content related to political issues and conflicts in Ukraine.
The network of fake accounts paid roughly $15,000 to purchase Facebook ad space, with the first advertisement running in December 2013 and the last publishing in February. The company says about 1.4 million accounts followed one or more of these pages.
“We are constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because we don’t want our services to be used to manipulate people,” Facebook said in a blog post.
After receiving mounting criticism for years about privacy and spreading misinformation, Facebook began its targeted attack on what it calls “coordinated inauthentic behavior” in 2018. Facebook defines this term as a network of pages or people work together to mislead others about “who they are or what they’re doing.”
In July, the social networking site removed 32 pages and accounts that it called “bad actors.” In August, it removed another 652 pages, groups and accounts. In November, Facebook said it worked with the FBI to find and remove even more accounts.
The social-networking site is also working to block ads and reduce the distribution of misinformation related to vaccinations.
Follow Dalvin Brown on Twitter: @Dalvin_Brown
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