Facebook and Twitter take networks with thousands of troll accounts offline

Facebook has taken down two major networks of fake accounts. The accounts tried to spread positive messages about Donald Trump in pages and groups, among other things. The accounts looked like authentic US users and used AI photos.

It concerns two different groups, Facebook writes. The smallest of these comes from Georgia. The people who set up that campaign had 39 Facebook accounts, 344 Pages, 13 Groups and 22 Instagram accounts. Facebook has taken them all offline. In total, the group had 442,000 followers, and last year spent 285,000 euros on advertisements on the platform. The other group was bigger. It came from both Vietnam and America, and contained 610 accounts, 89 Pages, 156 Groups and 72 Instagram accounts, all of which were also taken offline. The latter group spent 8.5 million euros on advertisements last year.

According to Facebook, the smaller group spread messages about political issues in Georgia. The larger group mainly posted politically exaggerated messages about America that had a conservative slant. According to Facebook, it was about news about Donald Trump’s impeachment proceedings, elections, and freedom of religion in America. According to Facebook, the groups used photos generated on the basis of artificial intelligence. Facebook links the group’s behavior to the Epoch Media Group, a media organization in America.

Facebook isn’t the only social network to take a major network offline. Twitter announced Friday that it has taken a network of 5929 accounts offline. They came from Saudi Arabia, and were used in discussions surrounding “Saudi Arabia’s geopolitical interests on the world stage.” The accounts sent messages in which Saudi authorities came out well and tried to get them higher in the algorithms with likes and retweets. Most of the messages were in Arabic, Twitter says, although there were also some messages aimed at Western users. This included sanctions against Iran or Saudi Arabia itself. The 5929 accounts were part of a larger network of 88,000 spam accounts. The small number of accounts was the core of this.