LONDON: In its Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report, Facebook announced that it had dismantled a large online disinformation network in Sudan that was pushing hostile and aggressive content on its platform, including posts promoting the Muslim Brotherhood.
The campaign removed 53 Facebook accounts, 51 pages, three groups and 18 Instagram accounts.
Accumulating over 1.8 million followers, it was one of the largest disinformation networks in Sudan.
The report indicated that the network posted primarily in Arabic about Islamic political parties, the Muslim Brotherhood, the 1989 Sudanese coup, the necessity of normalizing Sudanese-Israeli relations, and criticism of the Communist Party, secularism, and feminism.
“Urgent call! All revolutionaries must go to the Republican Palace! The security cordon has been broken, now all the processions across the bridges are on their way to you #Million_30June” one of the posts read.
Shared simultaneously across several Facebook pages, this post was automatically amplified rather than shared organically by real Facebook users.
According to its community standards, the tech company classifies such methods as “Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior.”
CIB is defined as the use of multiple (mainly fake) Facebook or Instagram assets concurrently and in coordination to mislead people or Facebook. Misleading is classified as taking many forms, including, but not limited to, concealing or altering the origin of the Facebook asset, the popularity of the post, and the source of the content.
Such coordinated online behavior is not unfamiliar to Sudan. In fact, such online groups, labeled Shadow Battalions, were mainly used by the former Sudanese government to influence public opinion in support of the regime.
According to media monitoring groups, the techniques employed by the Shadow Battalions in Sudan are identical to those used in both the last general election campaign in the UK and social media incitement that led to the unrest earlier this year at the US capitol.
Although the latest Facebook campaign removed approximately a third of these networks, others remains online today.
The report indicated that Facebook removed a total of 2,784 Facebook accounts, 206 Instagram accounts, 2,249 pages, and 142 groups originating from seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Sudan, Algeria, Mexico and Ethiopia.