We removed 80 Facebook accounts, 26 Pages, nine Groups and two accounts on Instagram for violating our policy against coordinated inauthentic behavior. This network targeted multiple apps, including Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, originated in Georgia and focused on domestic audiences in that country, – reads the Meta “quarterly adversarial threat report“.
According to the report, the people behind this activity relied on fake accounts to run fictitious personas, manage Groups and Pages, post, comment, and like their own content to make it appear more popular than it was.
“These Pages and Groups purported to be local, independent, pro-government grassroots groups. The network operated around the clock to amplify content in support of the current Georgian government, including resharing posts by the official government Pages and pro-government media reports. They also shared criticisms of the opposition, particularly during the most recent public protests related to the now-retracted legislative proposal on the so-called “foreign agents” law in Georgia. In fact, this operation responded to protest developments in real time, including posting in the middle of the night. The individuals behind this network posted memes, text articles, and comments, primarily in Georgian.
“We found this activity as a result of our internal investigation into suspected coordinated inauthentic behavior in the region. Although the people behind this operation attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, our investigation found links to the Strategic Communications Department of the Government Administration of Georgia.
“Presence on Facebook and Instagram: 80 Facebook accounts, 26 Pages, 9 Groups and 2 Instagram accounts.
“Followers: Around 138,000 accounts followed one or more of these Pages, around 238,000 accounts joined one or more of these Groups and about 400 accounts followed one or more of these Instagram accounts.
“Advertising: About $33,500 in spending for ads on Facebook and Instagram, paid for mostly in US dollars,” the report reads.
Facebook has announced that it is fighting information influence operations on its platform, which aim to manipulate public opinion. Facebook considers coordinated inauthentic behavior when multiple pages, groups, and accounts work together to mislead the public about their identity and activities. Facebook removes both fake and real accounts that are involved in inauthentic coordinated operations.
This is not the first time Facebook has removed pages from Georgia due to inauthentic coordinated behavior. In April 2020, Facebook canceled hundreds of pages, groups and personal accounts related to “Espersona” and “National Movement” founded by Koka Kandiashvili. Before that, “Facebook” deleted hundreds of pages related to the “Georgian Dream”.