Facebook removed dozens of pages, accounts and groups earlier today. The company says the network engaged in “coordinated inauthentic behavior” originating in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The people behind it created fictitious personalities using duplicate and fake accounts. They then posted in Facebook groups and directed people to other websites. The network posed as independent news and fact-checking entities.
“They also impersonated opposition and political candidates and re-posted their exact content, likely to build an audience,” Facebook says.
The DRC network was posting frequently about the corona-virus pandemic and used that to build an audience before switching to political topics. In April, some of the suspected pages posted unproven claims that blue masks were contaminated. They urged Africans not to wear them in what sounded like a group of conspiracy theorists.
“We debunked the claims here: Blue face-masks are not contaminated,” Facebook said their investigation revealed links between the network and a political party in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Facebook took down 66 Facebook accounts, 5 Facebook Groups, 63 Pages and 25 Instagram accounts. It is estimated that more than a million people could have been following these pages.