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Facebook and Twitter remove 30 ‘state sponsored’ fake accounts from Bangladesh

Facebook and Twitter removed a combined of 30 accounts which were spreading misinformation in Bangladesh, 10 days before the country goes to polls. Both platforms found that the suspended accounts were linked to the ruling government in Bangladesh, the Awami League led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

In a blog post, Facebook announced that it removed 9 pages and 6 accounts for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behaviour, and said that the misinformation campaign is linked to the Bangladesh government. As is typical of misinformation campaigns, the accounts and pages “were designed to look like independent news organizations and posted content which was pro-government and anti-opposition,” noted Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity.

  • 9 pages and 6 accounts removed on Facebook
  • Followers: 11,900 people followed at least one of the Facebook pages
  • Advertising: $800 were spent on ads, the first ad ran in July 2017, and the last a month ago, in November 2018

Facebook said that it was tipped off about the posts by threat intelligence firm Graphika, after which it launched an investigation. The company has reported its findings to Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Research Lab.

Credit: Facebook

Credit: Facebook

One Facebook fake account ‘bdsnews24’ posed as news website bdnews24.com, which noted in its own report that the webpage of ‘bdsnews24’ appeared to be like its own, with an extra letter in the URL and the logo.

Twitter suspended 15 accounts originating from Bangladesh for engaging in coordinated manipulation of the platform. Most of these accounts had a small following, fewer than 50 followers. Its initial analysis shows that some of these accounts may have ties to state-sponsored actors. Twitter said it will release more information once its investigations is complete.

Also read: Some of Facebook’s now suspended accounts actually bought & distributed ads

Our Facebook and Twitter coverage.

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