Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Facebook purges more accounts linked to Russia

Facebook purges more accounts linked to Russia

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Facebook's latest move to curb manipulation removed dozens of accounts linked to Russian military intelligence. LOIC VENANCE/AFP

Facebook purges more accounts linked to Russia

Facebook on Wednesday said it purged dozens of accounts linked to Russian military intelligence in the latest effort to root out manipulation and disinformation of the huge social network.

Other accounts originating in Iran, Vietnam and Myanmar were also blocked on Facebook and Instagram for “engaging in foreign or government interference”, Facebook head of security policy Nathaniel Gleicher said.

The Russia-based network which included 78 Facebook accounts and four on Instagram focused mainly on Ukraine and neighbouring countries and posted content about the conflict in Syria, ethnic tensions in Crimea and the downing of a Malaysian airliner in Ukraine in 2014.

“Although the people behind this network attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, our investigation found links to Russian military intelligence services,” Gleicher said in a blog post.

The move is the latest by social networks seeking to crack down on foreign manipulation including efforts to artificially promote certain political messages, often with misinformation.

London-based news agency giant Reuters said on Wednesday that its newly launched Reuters Fact Check business unit has joined Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme and will fact-check user-generated content posted on the social media platform and its photo-sharing app Instagram

Technology news website TechCrunch reported that the four-person team comprises two English speakers staffed in Washington DC and two Spanish speakers in Mexico City.

Other partners of the social media giant’s fact-checking initiative include Agence France Presse, The Associated Press, Factcheck.org, PolitiFact, Snopes.com and The Weekly Standard.

Also on Wednesday, Facebook said it took down separate networks in Iran, Vietnam and Myanmar.

Six Facebook and five Instagram accounts from Iran that were focused on the US and US-Iranian relations were removed for “coordinated inauthentic behaviour”, and apparent links to a similar network taken down by Facebook in January last year.

“They shared posts about political news and geopolitics including topics like the US elections, Christianity, US-Iran relations, US immigration policy, criticism of US policies in the Middle East and public figures as well as video interviews with academics, public figures and columnists on issues related to Iran and US elections,” Gleicher said.

An additional 13 Facebook accounts from Myanmar and Vietnam were removed for using fake accounts to manage pages “posing as independent telecom consumer news hubs,” which disparaged business rivals, according to the Facebook statement.

These pages turned out to be linked to telecom services Mytel in Myanmar and Viettel in Vietnam, and Gapit Communications, a communications firm in Vietnam.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Kingdom eyes India FTA, China deal set for August

    Cambodia is studying the possibility of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with India to open a new market with the second-largest regional economy. This comes as an FTA with China is scheduled to be signed next month while similar negotiations with South Korea

  • Judge lands in court after crashing into alleged thief

    Sen Sok district police on Thursday sent a Koh Kong Provincial Court judge to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on manslaughter charges after he crashed his car into a woman riding a motorbike on Wednesday, killing her. District police chief Hour Meng Vang told The

  • Preah Vihear court drops charges against villagers

    The Preah Vihear Provincial Court has dropped all charges against eight ethnic Kuoy villagers who were in a land dispute with the Hengfu Group Sugar Industry Co Ltd since 2014. Wednesday’s decision was made by the judge who tried the case on June 10. The eight

  • Gov’t to boost Siem Reap tourism

    The Ministry of Tourism released the results of an inter-ministerial committee meeting concerning Siem Reap province’s Tourism Development Master Plan for 2020-2035 on Wednesday, revealing the government’s plan to improve the overall tourist landscape there. The meeting was attended by Minister of Tourism

  • Residents ordered to remove structures on Phnom Penh’s canal

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng has ordered authorities to act against the perpetrators who built houses along the Luo 5 canal in Meanchey district. The municipal administration plans to create a committee to solve the matter. The order was given on Wednesday while Sreng led

  • ‘On the offensive’: Cambodia to load up on loans to stimulate economy

    As the dust settles on the economy, Cambodia comes to grips with what needs to be done to turn the economy around, starting with a big shopping list for credit ‘We are going on the offensive,” Vongsey Vissoth, Ministry of Economy and Finance permanent secretary

  • Eighty replacement peacekeepers set for Mali mission despite Covid

    Eighty Cambodian blue helmet soldiers who completed the peacekeeping mission under the UN umbrella in Mali will return to Cambodia on Friday, said the Centre for Peacekeeping Forces spokeswoman Kosal Malida. “To protect their families and communities from the Covid-19 pandemic, the 80 are required to

  • Government set to make up for cancelled April holiday

    The government is set to make up for a five-day Khmer New Year holiday late this month or early next month. The holiday was earlier cancelled due to the onset of Covid-19. The announcement is expected on Friday as the government is studying a range

  • Families told to register for cash handouts

    The government has called on poor families to apply to commune authorities for evaluation to receive financial support during the Covid-19 crisis. A $300 million budget has been planned for implementation within a year. Ministry of Economy and Finance secretary of state Vongsey Visoth said this