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Facebook bans pages linked to telecom companies over alleged disinformation against competitors

In one of the first instances of Facebook taking action against a business for disinformation tactics, on February 12, the social media platform banned 10 pages and 13 fake accounts linked to Vietnamese and Myanmarese telecom providers Viettel and Mytel, after accusing the companies of discrediting competitors, and violating Facebook's policy against coordinated inauthentic behaviour. Facebook said that the banned fake pages were made to appear as an “independent telecoms consumer news hub”, but were actually full of accounts posing to be critical of the telecom companies’ rivals and were spreading unfounded claims of the competitors' failures, market exits and fraudulent activity. The company added that the pages, followed by 265,600 accounts, were tied to about $1.2m worth of Facebook advertising. Viettel, Vietnam’s biggest telecoms provider said that it is trying to verify the information given by Facebook and that employees and members, proven to be involved in this, will face full responsibility, Financial Times reported. The company is state-owned and is operated by the Ministry of Defense. Facebook’s removals for political misinformation On the same day, the social media company also removed more than a hundred Facebook and Instagram accounts, pages and groups for violating its policy against foreign or government interference. Facebook says that the fake accounts, allegedly linked to Russian military intelligence services and focused primarily on neighbouring countries, posted misleading content such as about military engagement in Syria, alleged SBU leaks related to ethnic tensions in Crimea, etc. "In each of these cases, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used…

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