A new political misinformation campaign was uncovered and blocked by Facebook, this time it was not operated by Russia but Israel’s Archimedes Group
Facebook uncovered and blocked a misinformation campaign powered by Israel’ Archimedes Group, the corporation used fake accounts to manipulated political campaigns.
According to Facebook, the Archimedes Group used hundreds of pages, accounts, and groups in the attempt to influence the public sentiment on political discussions.
The misinformation focused on specific countries in Africa (Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Angola, Niger, and Tunisia), Latin America and Southeast Asia. The operators behind this campaign posed themselves as local people and organizations to fuel the debate on specific political events.
“Today we removed 265 Facebook and Instagram accounts, Facebook Pages, Groups and events involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior. This activity originated in Israel and focused on Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Angola, Niger and Tunisia along with some activity in Latin America and Southeast Asia.” wrote Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of c
Facebook banned Archimedes Group and all of its subsidiaries from its social media platforms.
Facebook shared some interesting details about the efforts of the corporations in spreading fake news to change the perception of the reality:
- Presence on Facebook and Instagram: 65 Facebook accounts, 161 Pages, 23 Groups, 12 events and four Instagram accounts.
- Followers: About 2.8 million accounts followed one or more of these Pages, about 5,500accounts joined at least one of these Groups and around 920 people followed one or more of these Instagram accounts.
- Advertising: Around $812,000 in spending for ads on Facebook paid for in Brazilian reals, Israeli shekel, and US dollars. The first ad ran in December 2012 and the most recent ad ran in April 2019.
- Events: Nine events were hosted by these Pages. The first was scheduled for October 2017 and the most recent was scheduled for May 2019. Up to 2,900 people expressed interest in at least one of these events, and a portion of their accounts were previously identified and disabled as fake. We cannot confirm whether any of these events actually occurred.
Facebook provided an example of the type of content that was removed, the following image is related to Martin Fayulu, leader of the Engagement for Citizenship and Development party in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Archimedes Group invested a total of $812,000 on Facebook ads, these figures could give you an idea about the strategic importance of social networks in misinformation campaigns.
“It has repeatedly violated our misrepresentation and other policies, including by engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior,” Facebook says. “This organization and all its subsidiaries are now banned from Facebook, and it has been issued a cease and desist letter.”
Now the question is, who paid this campaign?
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