• Facebook has removed several Russian-linked fake accounts targeting African countries.
  • The targeted countries, according to the social media giant, are Madagascar, Central African Republic, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Sudan, and Libya.
  • Facebook says its investigation connected these campaigns to entities associated with Russian financier Yevgeniy Prigozhin, who was previously indicted by the US Justice Department.

Facebook has removed several Russian-linked fake accounts targeting seven African countries.

The targeted countries include Madagascar, Central African Republic, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Sudan, and Libya.

In a statement released on Wednesday, October 30, 2019, Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy, said, “each of these operations created networks of accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing.

Fake account on Facebook targeting Africans (fb newsroom)
Fake account on Facebook targeting Africans (fb newsroom)
fb newsroom

“Although the people behind these networks attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, our investigation connected these campaigns to entities associated with Russian financier Yevgeniy Prigozhin, who was previously indicted by the US Justice Department.

“We have shared information about our findings with law enforcement, policymakers, and industry partners.

The accounts spent about $77,000 in ads to run various fake news

  • Facebook said it removed 35 Facebook accounts, 53 Pages, seven Groups and five Instagram accounts that originated in Russia.
  • The individuals behind this activity used a combination of fake accounts and authentic accounts of local nationals in Madagascar and Mozambique to manage Pages and Groups and post their content.
  • They typically posted about global and local political news including topics like Russian policies in Africa, elections in Madagascar and Mozambique, election monitoring by a local non-governmental organization and criticism of French and US policies.
  • The accounts have spent around $77,000 in ads in April 2018 and the most recent ad ran in October 2019.
Fake account on Facebook targeting Africans (fb newsroom)
Fake account on Facebook targeting Africans (fb newsroom)
fb newsroom
  • Facebook also removed 17 Facebook accounts, 18 Pages, 3 Groups and six Instagram accounts that originated in Russia and focused primarily on Sudan. They frequently shared stories from SUNA (Sudan’s state news agency) as well as Russian state-controlled media Sputnik and RT, and posted primarily in Arabic and some in English. The Page administrators and account owners posted about local news and events in Sudan and other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Sudanese-Russian relations, US-Russian relations, Russian foreign policy and Muslims in Russia.  

Facebook keeps fighting purveyor of fake news

Early this month, Facebook also flagged and removed multiple Pages, Groups and accounts that were involved in 'coordinated inauthentic behaviour'. The accounts operated mainly from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Nigeria.

The social media platform said the campaigns from these three main countries were unconnected, but “both created networks of accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing.”