Facebook on Wednesday said it had suspended a network of fake accounts used by Russian military intelligence to seed false narratives on social media targeting Ukraine and other countries in Eastern Europe.
In a statement, Facebook’s head of cyber security policy said the latest Russian operation used more than 100 accounts on the platform and on Instagram – which Facebook owns – to create fake personas, often posing as journalists.
These accounts then contacted local media and politicians to plant false stories about politically divisive issues, such as corruption allegations, ethnic tensions in Russian-annexed Crimea and the 2014 downing of a Malaysian airliner in Ukraine.
Researchers who reviewed the accounts before they were taken down said the network was able to get articles published in some local media outlets.
Facebook said it had also suspended two other networks of fake accounts – one with ties to Iran that targeted the United States, and the other linked to two telecom providers in Myanmar and Vietnam, which carried out a different kind of disinformation campaign: to slander their competitors.