Facebook has removed dozens of accounts and pages involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior in Ukraine.
"We removed 72 Facebook accounts, 35 Pages, and 13 Instagram accounts that were involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior in Ukraine. This network focused on domestic audiences," Head of Security Policy Nathaniel Gleicher said in a statement on July 8, 2020.
"The people behind this activity used fake accounts – some of which had already been detected and disabled by our automated systems – to create fictitious personas, post in Groups and on Pages, comment on their own content, evade enforcement, and manage Pages. Some of this network's accounts had also been removed for hate speech and impersonation," he said.
It is noted this network was particularly active during the 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections in Ukraine.
Some of its accounts have gone through significant name changes over time. The Page admins and account owners posted political memes, satire and other content including about Crimea, NATO, economic policies in Ukraine, domestic politics, elections, criticism and support of various candidates, including Volodymyr Zelensky, Yulia Tymoshenko, and Petro Poroshenko.
"We identified this activity as a result of our internal investigation into coordinated inauthentic behavior in Ukraine. Our assessment benefited from public reporting in Ukraine. Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, our investigation linked this activity to Postmen DA, an advertising agency in Ukraine," Gleicher said.
According to estimates, about US$1.93 million was spent for ads on Facebook and Instagram.