By Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy

In the past week, we removed multiple Pages, Groups and accounts that were involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior on Facebook and Instagram. We found four separate, unconnected operations that originated in Thailand, Russia, Ukraine and Honduras. We didn’t find any links between the campaigns we’ve removed, but all created networks of accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing.

We’re constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because we don’t want our services to be used to manipulate people. We’re taking down these Pages, Groups and accounts based on their behavior, not the content they posted. In each of these cases, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves, and that was the basis for our action. We have shared information about our analysis with law enforcement, policymakers and industry partners.

We are making progress rooting out this abuse, but as we’ve said before, it’s an ongoing challenge. We’re committed to continually improving to stay ahead. That means building better technology, hiring more people and working more closely with law enforcement, security experts and other companies.

What We’ve Found So Far

We removed 12 Facebook accounts and 10 Facebook Pages for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior that originated in Thailand and focused primarily on Thailand and the US. The people behind this small network used fake accounts to create fictitious personas and run Pages, increase engagement, disseminate content, and also to drive people to off-platform blogs posing as news outlets. They also frequently shared divisive narratives and comments on topics including Thai politics, geopolitical issues like US-China relations, protests in Hong Kong, and criticism of democracy activists in Thailand. Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our review found that some of this activity was linked to an individual based in Thailand associated with New Eastern Outlook, a Russian government-funded journal based in Moscow.

  • Presence on Facebook: 12 accounts and 10 Pages.
  • Followers: About 38,000 accounts followed one or more of these Pages.
  • Advertising: Less than $18,000 spent on Facebook ads paid for in US dollars.

We identified these accounts through an internal investigation into suspected Thailand-linked coordinated inauthentic behavior. Our investigation benefited from information shared by local civil society organizations.

Below is a sample of the content posted by some of these Pages:

Further, last week, ahead of the election in Ukraine, we removed 18 Facebook accounts, nine Pages, and three Groups for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior that originated primarily in Russia and focused on Ukraine. The people behind this activity created fictitious personas, impersonated deceased Ukrainian journalists, and engaged in fake engagement tactics. They also operated fake accounts to increase the popularity of their content, deceive people about their location, and to drive people to off-platform websites. The Page administrators and account owners posted content about Ukrainian politics and news, including topics like Russia-Ukraine relations and criticism of the Ukrainian government.

  • Presence on Facebook: 18 Facebook accounts, 9 Pages, and 3 Groups.
  • Followers: About 80,000 accounts followed one or more of these Pages, about 10 accounts joined at least one of these Groups.
  • Advertising: Less than $100 spent on Facebook ads paid for in rubles.

We identified these accounts through an internal investigation into suspected Russia-linked coordinated inauthentic behavior, ahead of the elections in Ukraine. Our investigation benefited from public reporting including by a Ukrainian fact-checking organization.

Below is a sample of the content posted by some of these Pages:

Caption: “When it seems that there is no bottom. Ukrainian TV anchor hosted a show dressed up as Hitler“

Caption: “Poroshenko’s advisor is accused of organizing sex business in Europe.”

Caption: “A journalist from the US: there is a complete collapse of people’s hopes in Ukraine after Maidan“

Caption: “The art of being a savage”

Also last week, ahead of the election in Ukraine, we removed 83 Facebook accounts, two Pages, 29 Groups, and five Instagram accounts engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior that originated in Russia and the Luhansk region in Ukraine and focused on Ukraine. The people behind this activity used fake accounts to impersonate military members in Ukraine, manage Groups posing as authentic military communities, and also to drive people to off-platform sites. They also operated Groups — some of which shifted focus from one political side to another over time — disseminating content about Ukraine and the Luhansk region. The Page admins and account owners frequently posted about local and political news including topics like the military conflict in Eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian public figures and politics.

  • Presence on Facebook and Instagram: 83 Facebook accounts, 2 Pages, 29 Groups, and 5 Instagram accounts.
  • Followers: Fewer than 1,000 accounts followed one or more of these Pages, under 35,000 accounts joined at least one of these Groups, and around 1,400 people followed one or more of these Instagram accounts.
  • Advertising: Less than $400 spent on Facebook and Instagram ads paid for in US dollars.

We identified this activity through an internal investigation into suspected coordinated inauthentic behavior in the region, ahead of the elections in Ukraine. Our investigation benefited from information shared with us by local law enforcement in Ukraine.

Below is a sample of the content posted by some of these Pages:

Caption: “Ukrainians destroy their past! For many years now, as we have witnessed a deep crisis of the post-Soviet Ukrainian statehood. The republic, which in the early 1990s had the best chance of successful development among all the new independent states, turned out to be the most unsuccessful. And the reasons here are not economic and, I would even say, not objective. The root of Ukrainian problems lies in the ideology itself, which forms the basis of the entire national-state project, and in the identity that it creates. It is purely negativistic, and any social actions based on it are, in one way or another, directed not at creation, but at destruction. Ukrainian ship led the young state to a crisis, the destruction of the spiritual, cultural, historical and linguistic community of the Russian and Ukrainian peoples, affecting almost all aspects of public life. Do not forget that the West played a special role in this, which since 2014 has openly interfered in the politics of another state and in fact sponsored an armed coup d’état.”

Caption: “Suicide is the only way out for warriors of the Armed Forces of Ukraine To date, a low moral and psychological level in the ranks of the armed forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has not risen. Since the beginning of the year in the conflict zone in the Donbas a considerable number of suicide cases have been recorded among privates of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Nobody undertakes to give the exact number because the command does not report on every such state of emergency and tries to hide the fact of its own incompetence. Despite all the assurances of Kiev about the readiness for the offensive, the mood of the warriors is not happy. The Ukrainian army is not morally prepared, as it were, beautifully told Poroshenko about full-scale hostilities. During the four years of the war, there were many promises on his part, but in fact nothing. Initially, warriors come to the place of deployment morally unstable. Inadequate drinking and drug use exacerbates the already deplorable state of the heroes. Many have opened their eyes to the real causes of the war and they do not want to kill their fellow citizens. But no one will listen to them. And in recent time, lack of staff in the Armed Forces of Ukraine is being addressed with recruiting rookies, who undergo 3-day training and seeing a machine gun for the first time only at the frontline. So the warriors of light are losing their temper and they see hanging or shooting themselves as the only way out. Only recently cases of suicide have been made public by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and no one will know what happened before. It is not good to show the glorious heroes of Ukraine from the dark side.”

Caption: “…algorithm and peculiarities of providing medical assistance to Ukrainian military. In the end of the visit representatives of Lithuanian and Ukrainian sides discussed questions of joint interest and expressed opinions on particular aspects of developing the sphere of collaboration even further.”

Headline: “Breaking: In the Bakhmutki area, the Armed Forces of Ukraine destroyed a car with peaceful citizens in it, using an anti-tank guided missile”

Finally, we removed 181 accounts and 1,488 Facebook Pages that were involved in domestic-focused coordinated inauthentic activity in Honduras. The individuals behind this activity operated fake accounts. They also created Pages designed to look like user profiles — using false names and stock images — to comment and amplify positive content about the president. Although the people behind this campaign attempted to conceal their identities, our review found that some of this activity was linked to individuals managing social media for the government of Honduras.

  • Presence on Facebook: 181 Facebook accounts and 1,488 Pages.
  • Followers: About 120,000 accounts followed one or more of these Pages.
  • Advertising: More than $23,000 spent on Facebook ads paid for in US dollars and Honduran lempiras.

We identified these accounts through an internal investigation into suspected coordinated inauthentic behavior in the region.

Below is a sample of the content posted by some of these Pages:

Caption: “Celebration first year of service of the national force and gangs. We are celebrating the first anniversary of service of the national force and gangs; all Hondurans must know what they face and what is the future. We have been beaten by violence, but the state of Honduras must solve it. It is so much the admiration and confidence of the Honduran people, that nowadays, the Fnamp HN receives the highest recognition that an institution in security can have. We recognize its work by the level of commitment to the you lose your life the life for the cause of others. We recognize its work by the level of commitment to the point of loosing the life for the cause of others.”

Caption: “Happy birthday, mother. I thank God because my mother – Elvira -, birthday today one more year of life. I will always be grateful to her for strengthening me and supporting me with her advice, and for being an example of faith and solidarity with the neighbor. God bless you, give you health and allow you to be many more years with us!”

Caption: “Happy Sunday! May the first step you take in the day be to move forward and leave a mark, fill yourself with energy and optimism, shield yourself from negativity with hope, and a desire to change Honduras.”