By Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy

Today, we removed seven Pages, three Groups and five Facebook accounts involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior as part of a small network that originated in China and focused on Hong Kong. The individuals behind this campaign engaged in a number of deceptive tactics, including the use of fake accounts — some of which had been already disabled by our automated systems — to manage Pages posing as news organizations, post in Groups, disseminate their content, and also drive people to off-platform news sites. They frequently posted about local political news and issues including topics like the ongoing protests in Hong Kong. Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our investigation found links to individuals associated with the Chinese government.

  • Presence on Facebook: 5 Facebook accounts, 7 Pages and 3 Groups.
  • Followers: About 15,500 accounts followed one or more of these Pages and about 2,200 accounts joined at least one of these Groups.

Based on a tip shared by Twitter about activity they found on their platform, we conducted an internal investigation into suspected coordinated inauthentic behavior in the region and identified this activity. We will continue monitoring and will take action if we find additional violations. We’ve shared our analysis with law enforcement and industry partners.

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. As with all of these takedowns, 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 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.

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

Translation: Protesters.
ISIS fighters
What’s the difference?

Translation: Even though the weapons are different, the outcome is the same!

Translation: Cockroach soldiers

Translation of final panel: Hong Kong cockroach chaos

Translation: Things the Yellow Media won’t tell you
When there is cooperation between thugs and black journalists
What you see are not news!

Translation:
Please don’t let thugs go by
#8-3
#Hong Kong