Facebook takes down many fake Instagram accounts in Russia

The accounts used ‘hashtag poisoning’ to undertake to interfere with protests

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Facebook has taken down hundreds of pretend Instagram accounts in Russia that were attempting to interfere with protests within the country. the corporate says it found a network of 530 accounts that “targeted domestic audiences throughout the recent protests in support of Alexey Navalny,” the recently captive Russian opposition leader, told us Engadget

Facebook says the folks behind the network seemingly purchased the accounts in an effort to bypass the social network’s machine-driven detection systems.

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The accounts in question used techniques Facebook delineate as “hashtag poisoning” and “location poisoning,” which means they primarily spammed the hashtags and placement tags that were being employed by protest organizers.

Together, the Instagram accounts gained 55,000 followers and infrequently announce beneath hashtags like #PutinLeave and #FreeNavalny.

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“This network posted memes in Russian together with a few Russian TikTok celebrities, criticism of pro-Navalny protests, claims of huge numbers of minors attending the rallies, and conjointly advertising of women’s garments and handbags,” Facebook writes in its report.

During a decision with reporters, Facebook’s head of security policy Nathaniel Gleicher got wind that merely participating in hashtag poisoning isn’t against Facebook’s rules which it’s a tactic often used by activists and can be “an important part of the debate.” But that using fake accounts to do so breaks the company’s rules against platform manipulation.

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Facebook detailed the network in its latest report on coordinated inauthentic behavior on its platform. In addition to the Instagram accounts, the company also found networks of fake accounts linked to Thailand, Morocco, and Iran.

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