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Facebook suspends Russian accounts that meddled in the domestic politics of 8 African countries

Author: Africanews, Published on: 7 November 2019

"Facebook suspends fake accounts for meddling in 8 African countries," 31 October 2019.

Facebook...said it had suspended three networks of Russian accounts that meddled in the domestic politics of eight African countries, and were tied to a Russian businessman accused of interfering in past U.S. elections. The influence operations hiding behind fake identities were traced back to Yevgeny Prigozhin, who has been indicted in the United States in connection with a campaign targeting the 2016 US elections. “Each of these operations created networks of accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing,” Facebook cybersecurity chief Nathaniel Gleicher said in a statement...

The campaigns used almost 200 fake and compromised accounts to target people in Madagascar, Central African Republic, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Sudan and Libya, Facebook said. Between them, the accounts amassed more than 1 million followers. Facebook described three separate operations targeting both its core social network and Instagram...

In some of the African countries, the Russian-run networks worked with local citizens to better disguise their origins and target internet users, said Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cyber security policy...Some accounts supported a specific party or candidate...In other cases, the pages appeared geared towards building support for Wagner activities or Russian deals for natural resources...

But researchers at Stanford University, who worked with Facebook on its investigation, said the companies included the Wagner Group – a firm of military contractors that sources have previously told Reuters has carried out clandestine combat missions on the Kremlin’s behalf in Ukraine and Syria...Russian authorities deny that Wagner contractors carry out their orders...Wagner has no public profile and has never commented about its activities...

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Related companies: Facebook Instagram (part of Facebook)