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Facebook removes nearly 100 Pakistani fake accounts Pakistan Facebook
Image: Pixabay

Facebook removes nearly 100 Pakistani fake accounts

By South Asia Monitor/IBNS | @indiablooms | 06 Jun 2021, 08:49 pm

Facebook has removed close to 100 Pakistani fake accounts and pages involved in suspicious activities including misleading domestic audiences by posing as international news entities through fake social media handles.

“We removed 40 Facebook accounts, 25 Pages, six Groups and 28 Instagram accounts for violating our policy against coordinated inauthentic behavior,” said the social media giant in its annual report.

This network originated in Pakistan and primarily targeted domestic audiences, in addition to also focusing on English, Arabic and Pashto-speaking audiences globally, it said.

According to the Facebook report, people behind such activities used fake accounts for posting content, managing pages, and driving people to their off-platform website and other social media channels.

Some of these pages posed as international news entities and frequently shared what appears to be original video content, Tribune reported.

“This network appeared to be active across multiple internet services and posted about news and current events in the region, including the ongoing global pandemic; criticism of India and its treatment of Muslims, particularly in the Kashmir region; and also supportive commentary about Pakistan,” read the report.

Facebook said some of these pages had been removed in the past over violating the company’s community standards including hate speech.

“We found this activity as a result of our internal investigation into the suspected coordinated inauthentic behavior with some links to the network we removed in April 2019.”

Facebook said its assessment benefited from information shared with it by researchers at Graphika, a company that analyses online information.

The people involved in the suspicious activities attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, but their investigation found links to individuals associated with AlphaPro, a Pakistan-based PR firm.

The Facebook page for a company called “Wedding Mubarak” lists the same office as AlphaPro and shows it previously traded as “Weddings by AlphaPro”.

The report further said that around $40,000 was spent on Facebook and Instagram ads, primarily in US dollars.