Africa: Facebook Bans Israeli Firm That Ran Campaigns to Disrupt Elections

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17 May 2019

Cape Town — Facebook has removed hundreds of fake pages, groups, and accounts that it says were run by an Israeli firm that was targeting countries in Africa, CNN reports.

CNN reports that the company, Archimedes Group, spent more than U.S.$800,000 running Facebook ads.

Facebook said in a blog post that the accounts had almost 3 million followers.

Archimedes Group "represented themselves as locals, including local news organizations, and published allegedly leaked information about politicians," Facebook said.

The company primarily targeted Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Angola, Niger and Tunisia but also had some activity targeting Latin America and Southeast Asia.

In the blog post, Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, says: "The Page administrators and account owners frequently posted about political news, including topics like elections in various countries, candidate views and criticism of political opponents."

He said Archimedes Group had "repeatedly violated our misrepresentation and other policies, including by engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior. This organization and all its subsidiaries are now banned from Facebook, and it has been issued a cease and desist letter."

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