Meta: Belarusian secret service used fake accounts to sow unrest

Facebook’s parent company Meta says the Belarusian KGB has set up dozens of fake accounts, in which agents masquerading as journalists and activists to fuel the migrant crisis at the Belarus-Poland border.

In a report, Meta said it had deleted 41 Facebook accounts, five Facebook groups and four Instagram accounts for violating its policies. The fake profiles were used to criticize the behavior of the Polish authorities, including spreading allegations that Polish border guards used violence and intimidation against migrants.

“These fictitious individuals posted criticisms of Poland in English, Polish and Kurdish. The messages included photos and videos about Polish border guards allegedly violating the rights of migrants. They also compared Poland’s treatment of migrants with that of other countries.” writes Meta in the report. The Belarusian secret service has not yet commented on Meta’s findings.

Meta has separately deleted 31 Facebook accounts, four Facebook groups and four Instagram accounts. The company believes the accounts are from Poland and targeted audiences in Belarus and Iraq. The company does not link the accounts to the Polish state, but says they were intended to discourage migrants from traveling to the European Union.

Several EU Member States have accused Belarus of creating a migrant crisis on the Eastern European borders. The country is encouraging thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Africa to attempt to cross to Poland and Lithuania in revenge for sanctions imposed on the country. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko denies this and blames the EU for the crisis.