Facebook warns those making fake accounts: We’ll keep taking you down
MANILA, Philippines — After taking down dozens of fake accounts showing “coordinated inauthentic behavior” (CIB), Facebook warned people who might change tactics and continue to mislead social media users: We’ll keep on taking down your accounts.
Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of security, issued the warning in an online press conference on Tuesday night, after identifying the two networks taken down — one based in Fuijian, China and another in the Philippines.
Facebook traced the local network to police and military units— which have posted various content supporting President Rodrigo Duterte and attacking his critics.
“We noted there will be continuously actors trying to exploit this type of behavior, trying to target public debate. We know that they’ll continue to try their tactics and so will we,” Gleicher said.
He also made this assurance to reporters: “We’re going to keep briefing you on influence operations that we see and remove, and as many of our takedowns. We have shared information about our findings, we have law enforcement policy-makers, industry partners, and security researchers.”
According to Gleichers, the pages and accounts based in China were posting global news and issues dealing with Beijing’s interests, like its problem with Hong Kong and the West Philippine Sea dispute. They also posted statements supportive of President Duterte and the possible presidential bid of her daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
The local network, on the other hand, criticized opposition members, youth activism and communism, and parties supposedly espousing such ideals.
As in the past, Facebook noted that the primary basis for shutting down pages and accounts was not the content of the accounts but the act of using various fake accounts to create a network and deceive people into thinking that they were actual individuals.
“So for both of them, the central use of fake accounts, as you know, is a necessary condition, for us to determine something is CIB. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only deceptive (activity) they engaged in,” Gleicher said.
“So we regularly see these networks using pages that don’t fully disclose who’s behind them. The patterns of engagements that they may have with these accounts aren’t just the fact that they’re fake, but it’s how they use the accounts to boost their contents,” he added.
This is not the first time that Facebook spotted a network of fake accounts engaged in public discourse. It was the first time, however, that it identified government institutions — the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines — as the culprit behind the fake accounts.
Gleicher in 2019 revealed that over 200 Facebook accounts belonging to a network managed by Nic Gabunada.
Gabunada was Duterte’s social media strategist in the 2016 presidential elections. He also previously worked for the camp of then President Benigno Aquino III and network giant ABS-CBN.
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