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Facebook removes Russian-origin disinformation networks with links to Russian military

Facebook said it has removed three networks — the largest having 300 accounts, pages, and groups — that originated in Russia for coordinated inauthentic behavior that targeted several countries over geopolitical issues and regional politics. The first, larger network targeted the Far East, Russia's neighbours, Ukraine, and even the US and the UK. Another 37-strong network focussed on Russia's neighbours including Belarus. The smallest operation focused on Turkey, Europe and the US. The networks main activities revolved around creating fictitious personas or seemingly independent media entities to engage users and amplify their content. They also drove users to other websites they operated. Facebook said this activity was not just on its own platform, but was spread across platforms. Although the networks did not directly target the upcoming US elections, it was linked to actors associated with US election interference in the past, including those involved in the 2016 DC leaks, Facebook said. In 2016, Russia’s military intelligence agency — GRU — had deployed fake journalist identities to sow disinformation. One of them was the Alice Donovan persona, which created the DC leaks Facebook page, and posted disinformation about geopolitics and conflict. Fake journalist and media personas were similarly used in these networks. These operations worked across many internet services and attempted to hire contributors and seed their stories with news organisations, Facebook noted. 300-strong network worked in clusters, targeted Syrian civil war, geopolitical issues The largest network, totaling to 301 accounts, pages, and groups, originated in Russia and focused primarily…

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