Facebook has quietly removed three bogus far right networks in Spain ahead of Sunday’s elections

TechCrunch | 4/23/2019 | Staff
Matty123 (Posted by) Level 3
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Facebook has quietly removed three far right networks that were engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior intended to spread politically divisive content in Spain ahead of a general election in the country which takes place on Sunday.

The networks had a total reach of almost 1.7M followers and had generated close to 7.4M interactions in the past three months alone, according to analysis by the independent group that identified the bogus activity on Facebook’s platform.

Fake - Activity - Facebook

The fake far right activity was apparently not picked up by Facebook.

Instead activist not-for-profit Avaaz unearthed the inauthentic content, and presented its findings to the social networking giant earlier this month, on April 12. In a press release issued today the campaigning organization said Facebook has now removed the fakes — apparently vindicating its findings.

Facebook - Job - Fast - Networks - Tip

“Facebook did a great job in acting fast, but these networks are likely just the tip of the disinformation iceberg — and if Facebook doesn’t scale up, such operations could sink democracy across the continent,” said Christoph Schott, campaign director at Avaaz, in a statement.

“This is how hate goes viral. A bunch of extremists use fake and duplicate accounts to create entire networks to fake public support for their divisive agenda. It’s how voters were misled in the U.S., and it happened again in Spain,” he added.

Facebook - Comment - Time - Company - Request

We reached out to Facebook for comment but at the time of writing the company had not responded to the request or several questions we also put to it.

Avaaz said the networks it found comprised around thirty pages and groups spreading far right propaganda — including anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT, anti-feminist and anti-Islam content.

Examples - Content - Avaaz - Executive - Summary

Examples of the inauthentic content can be viewed in Avaaz’s executive summary of the report. They include fake data about foreigners committing the majority of rapes in Spain; fake news about Catalonia’s pro independence leader; and various...
(Excerpt) Read more at: TechCrunch
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