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Facebook, Instagram remove over 500 accounts allegedly linked to Russia

January 17, 13:06 UTC+3

Facebook says it has removed 364 pages and accounts

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MOSCOW, January 17. /TASS/. Facebook and Instagram have removed over 500 pages and accounts allegedly linked to Russia, Facebook said in a statement on Thursday.

"Today we removed 364 Facebook Pages and accounts for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior as part of a network that originated in Russia and operated in the Baltics, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Central and Eastern European countries," the statement reads. "Separately, based on an initial tip from US law enforcement, we also removed 107 Facebook Pages, Groups, and accounts, as well as 41 Instagram accounts, for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior as part of a network that originated in Russia and operated in Ukraine," Facebook added.

According to the statement, "the Page administrators and account owners primarily represented themselves as independent news Pages or general interest Pages on topics like weather, travel, sports, economics, or politicians in Romania, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, and Kyrgyzstan." "Despite their misrepresentations of their identities, we found that these Pages and accounts were linked to employees of Sputnik, a news agency based in Moscow, and that some of the Pages frequently posted about topics like anti-NATO sentiment, protest movements, and anti-corruption," Facebook said, adding that 180,000 to 790,000 Facebook accounts "followed one or more of these Pages, and more than 55,000 accounts followed one or more of these Instagram accounts."

"Our analysis benefited from open source reporting and work by our partners who investigate this kind of activity. We have also shared information about our investigation with US law enforcement, the US Congress, other technology companies, and policymakers in impacted countries," Facebook pointed out.

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