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Facebook removes disinformation networks linked to political actors in US, Myanmar, Azerbaijan

Facebook removed four networks of coordinated inauthentic behaviour, which were linked to politically affiliated actors in the US, Myanmar, Nigeria, and Azerbaijan, in the first eight days of October. Two of these networks primarily relied on posts by real people instead of automated bots to commenting on posts by media organisations and public figures to create the impression of widespread support of their narratives. In Myanmar, at least 70 accounts with links to the military were removed. In USA, a 300-strong network connected to conservative groups were removed. Networks originating and targeting domestic audiences in Azerbaijan and Nigeria were also removed. Conservative-backed marketing firm targeted US audience The modus operandi: Using stock images as profile photos, these fake accounts posed as American conservatives to comment on news articles shared by media houses and public figures. Facebook’s investigation, which it started after reporting by the Washington Post, linked this network to American marketing firm Rally Forge, working on behalf of Turning Point USA and Inclusive Conservation Group. Rally Forge has entirely been banned from Facebook. The accounts originated in the US and focused primarily on domestic US audiences and also on Kenya and Botswana. Turning Point USA is a popular pro-Trump youth activist group. Facebook has previously shut down accounts run by an affiliate group of Turning Point USA for paying teenagers to post identical posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter discrediting presidential contender Joe Biden, Anthony Fauci, among other things. What the network posted about: The topics revolved around the…

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