Facebook, Instagram accounts targeting popular Nigerians uncovered

Facebook on Thursday said it had removed 265 Facebook and Instagram accounts, pages, groups and events linked to an Israeli-based firm due to what it called “inauthentic behaviour” targeting prominent users in Nigeria and other countries.

Facebook said the activity originated in Israel and focused on Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Angola, Niger and Tunisia, as well as in Latin America and Southeast Asia.

“The people behind this network used fake accounts to run pages, disseminate their content and artificially increase engagement,” Nathaniel, head of cybersecurity policy at Facebook said in a statement.

He identified Israel’s Archimedes Group as the source of some of the activity.

“This organisation and all its subsidiaries are now banned from Facebook, and it has been issued a cease and desist letter,” said Gleicher.

Archimedes was not immediately available for comment.

Gleicher said Archimedes had 65 Facebook accounts, 161 pages, 12 events and four Instagram accounts. Some 2.8 million accounts followed one or more of these pages.

He disclosed that the individuals involved also represented themselves as locals, including local news organisations, and published allegedly leaked information about politicians.

“The page administrators and account owners frequently posted about political news, including topics like elections in various countries, candidate views and criticism of political opponents,” Gleicher added.

We’re taking down these pages and accounts based on their behaviour, not the content they posted.”

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