Facebook busts Israel-based campaign to influence politics in West Africa

Occupied Jerusalem (QNN)- Facebook on Thursday said it banned an Israeli company that that was engaging in what it calls “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” which is the company’s broad phrase for election interference and other forms of public manipulation via news and social media, directed primarily at West African countries.

Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, told reporters that the tech giant had purged 65 Israeli accounts, 161 pages, dozens of groups and four Instagram accounts.

Although Facebook said the individuals behind the network attempted to conceal their identities, it discovered that many were linked to the Archimedes Group, a Tel Aviv-based political consulting and lobbying firm that publicly boasts of its social media skills and ability to “change reality.”

The goal ostensibly was to have some type of effect on local elections and the political atmosphere, although Facebook says it can’t divine the exact intentions of the group and there is no indication that it was in any way linked to the Israeli government. Although it was centered on West African countries like Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, and Niger, Facebook also detected activity aimed at users in Angola, Tunisia, and parts of Southeast Asia and South America.

“The people behind this network used fake accounts to run Pages, disseminate their content and artificially increase engagement,” Nathaniel Gleicher wrote.
“They also represented themselves as locals, including local news organizations, and published allegedly leaked information about politicians. The Page administrators and account owners frequently posted about political news, including topics like elections in various countries, candidate views and criticism of political opponents.”

He added that around $812,000 was spent for advertisements on Facebook paid for in Brazilian reals, Israeli shekels and U.S. dollars with the first ad running in 2012 and the most recent last month, Gleicher said.

Source Article from http://qudsnen.co/facebook-busts-israel-based-campaign-to-influence-politics-in-west-africa/

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