We’re constantly working to find and stop coordinated campaigns that seek to manipulate public debate across our apps. In 2019, we took down over 50 networks worldwide for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior (CIB), including ahead of major democratic elections. You can find more information about our previous enforcement actions here.
Purpose of This Report
Over the past three years, we’ve shared our findings about coordinated inauthentic behavior we detect and remove from our platforms. As part of regular CIB reports, we’re sharing information about all networks we take down over the course of a month to make it easier for people to see progress we’re making in one place.
What is CIB?
We view CIB as coordinated efforts to manipulate public debate for a strategic goal where fake accounts are central to the operation. There are two tiers of these activities that we work to stop: 1) coordinated inauthentic behavior in the context of domestic, non-government campaigns (CIB) and 2) coordinated inauthentic behavior on behalf of a foreign or government actor (FGI).
Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior (CIB)
When we find domestic, non-government campaigns that include groups of accounts and Pages seeking to mislead people about who they are and what they are doing while relying on fake accounts, we remove both inauthentic and authentic accounts, Pages and Groups directly involved in this activity.
Foreign or Government Interference (FGI)
If we find any instances of CIB conducted on behalf of a government entity or by a foreign actor, we apply the broadest enforcement measures including the removal of every on-platform property connected to the operation itself and the people and organizations behind it.
We monitor for efforts to re-establish a presence on Facebook by networks we previously removed. Using both automated and manual detection, we continuously remove accounts and Pages connected to networks we took down in the past.
Summary of July 2020 Findings
This month, we removed nine networks of accounts, Pages and Groups. We reported the removal of four of these networks at the beginning of July, and we’re sharing the remaining five today. We have shared information about our findings with law enforcement, policymakers and industry partners.
More than half of these networks focused on domestic audiences in their own countries, including in the United States, Brazil, Ukraine, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Yemen. Much of the activity we removed in July was linked to commercial entities and individuals associated with political campaigns and political offices. We’ve seen and taken action against domestic political figures using CIB in the past, and we know they will continue to attempt to deceive and mislead people. Domestic campaigns like these raise a particularly complex challenge by blurring the line between healthy public debate and manipulation. Our teams will continue to find, remove and expose these coordinated manipulation campaigns, but we know these threats extend beyond our platform and no single organization can tackle them alone. That’s why it’s critical that we, as a society, have a broader discussion about what is acceptable political advocacy and take steps to deter people from crossing the line.
- Total number of Facebook accounts removed: 798
- Total number of Instagram accounts removed: 259
- Total number of Pages removed: 669
- Total number of Groups removed: 69
Networks removed in July 2020:
- NEW — Romania: We removed 35 Facebook accounts, 3 Pages and 88 Instagram accounts. This activity originated in Romania and focused on the US. We found this network as part of our investigation into suspected coordinated inauthentic behavior ahead of the 2020 election in the US.
- NEW — Global: We removed 303 Facebook accounts, 181 Pages, 44 Groups and 31 Instagram accounts. This network operated from many regions around the world including the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Germany, the UK, Finland and France. It targeted primarily English and Chinese-speaking audiences globally and Vietnam. We found this activity as part of our internal investigation into suspected coordinated inauthentic behavior with some links to the network we removed in December 2019. Our investigation linked this network to Truthmedia, a digital media outlet, which is now banned from our platforms.
- NEW — Iraq and Switzerland: We removed 135 Facebook accounts, 222 Pages, 4 Groups and 1 Instagram account. This activity originated in Iraq and Switzerland and focused on Iraq. We found this network as part of our internal investigation into suspected coordinated inauthentic behavior that exhibited some links to the network we removed in September 2019. Our investigation linked this network to individuals in Iraq and individuals associated with a Switzerland-based NGO called Al-Rafidain International Center for Justice and Human Rights.
- NEW — The Democratic Republic of Congo: We removed 66 Facebook accounts, 63 Pages, 5 Groups and 25 Instagram accounts in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This network focused on domestic audiences. We identified the full scope of this activity after investigating information shared with us by researchers at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Research Lab. Our assessment also benefited from public reporting by independent fact-checkers at AFP and France 24. Our investigation linked this activity to Force des Patriotes, a political party in DRC.
- NEW — Yemen: We removed 69 Facebook accounts, 28 Pages, 15 Groups and 10 Instagram accounts in Yemen. This network focused on domestic audiences. We found this activity as part of our investigation into suspected coordinated inauthentic behavior in the region.
- Canada and Ecuador: We removed 38 Facebook accounts, 76 Pages and 55 Instagram accounts. This activity originated in Canada and Ecuador and focused on El Salvador, Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, Ecuador and Chile. We found this network as part of our internal investigation into suspected coordinated inauthentic behavior in the region. Our investigation found links to political consultants and former government employees in Ecuador and Estraterra, a Canada-based PR firm. Estraterra is now banned from our platforms. (Originally announced on July 8, 2020)
- Brazil: We removed 33 Facebook accounts, 14 Pages, 1 Group and 37 Instagram accounts in Brazil. This network focused on domestic audiences. We found this activity as part of our investigation into suspected coordinated inauthentic behavior in Brazil reported by press and referenced in recent congressional testimony in Brazil. Our investigation found links to individuals associated with the Social Liberal Party and some of the employees of the offices of Anderson Moraes, Alana Passos, Eduardo Bolsonaro, Flavio Bolsonaro and Jair Bolsonaro. (Originally announced on July 8, 2020)
- Ukraine: We removed 65 Facebook accounts, 32 Pages and 8 Instagram accounts in Ukraine. This network focused on domestic audiences. We identified this activity as a result of our internal investigation into suspected coordinated inauthentic behavior in Ukraine. Our assessment benefited from public reporting in Ukraine. Our investigation linked this activity to Postmen DA, an advertising agency in Ukraine. (Originally announced on July 8, 2020)
- US: Finally, we removed 54 Facebook accounts, 50 Pages and 4 Instagram accounts in the US. This network focused on domestic audiences. We first started looking into this network as part of our investigation into the Proud Boys’ attempts to return to Facebook after we had banned them from the platform. We identified the full scope of this network following the recent public release of search warrants pertaining to the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in response to a joint petition from The New York Times, CNN, the Associated Press, The Washington Post and Politico. Our investigation linked this network to Roger Stone and his associates. (Originally announced on July 8, 2020)
We are making progress rooting out this abuse, but as we’ve said before, it’s an ongoing effort. We’re committed to continually improving to stay ahead. That means building better technology, hiring more people and working closely with law enforcement, security experts and other companies.
See the detailed report for more information.