By Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy

Today we removed nine Facebook Pages and six Facebook accounts for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior on our platform in Bangladesh. Through our investigation, which began in part based on a tip from Graphika, a threat intelligence company that we work with, we discovered that these Pages were designed to look like independent news outlets and posted pro-government and anti-opposition content. Our investigation indicates that this activity is linked to individuals associated with the Bangladesh government. This kind of behavior is not allowed on Facebook under our misrepresentation policy because we don’t want people or organizations creating networks of accounts to mislead others about who they are, or what they’re doing. Here’s a breakdown of what we’ve found:

  • Presence on Facebook: 9 Facebook Pages, 6 Facebook accounts.
  • Followers: About 11,900 people followed at least one of these Facebook Pages.
  • Advertising: Around $800 US dollars in ad spending on Facebook. The first ad was run in July 2017, and the last was run in November 2018.

As we have done with other investigations, we have shared our findings with the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Research Lab. Here are some sample posts:

Page name: bdsnews24.com
Caption: By the authority vested in her, BNP chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia has expelled the general secretary of BNP Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir. In a video message from prison, she personally alluded to this. From the party’s headquarters, BNP’s Senior Joint Secretary Ruhul Kabir Rizvi published a video message from Khaleda Zia.
Headline: Mirza Fakhrul expelled from BNP | Khaleda’s Video Message
Subhead: By the appointed authority, BNP GS Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir got expelled from BNP….

 

Page name: newsdinraat24.com
Caption: 
Khaleda Zia has bought herself a prize from Canada by paying one crore [10 million] takas [Bangladeshi currency]. Now the prize-givers are in a quandry.
Headline: 
Khaleda Zia has bought herself a prize by paying one crore taka 
Subhead:
Ex Prime Minister, Khaleda Zia, Mother of…

 

Page name: BBC Bangla
Caption: BNP is divided into two clear factions along with Zia-Rehman-Jamat. One side is ready to dive into participating in the elections and the other half which is devoid of Khaleda Zia- Tareq Rehman-Jamat is busy creating unrest during the elections
Headline: This fire has been caused by the agitation
Subhead: This fire has been caused by the agitation

We are continuously working to uncover this kind of abuse. Today’s announcement of the removal of these Pages is just one of the many steps we have taken to prevent bad actors from misrepresenting themselves to manipulate civic discourse. We will continue to invest heavily in safety and security in order to keep bad actors off of our platform and provide a place for people to connect meaningfully about the things that matter to them.