On Thursday, Meta Platforms said that its Facebook and Instagram subsidiaries had removed a network of fake accounts based in Turkey, mainly targeting Libya and found a link between the activity of these accounts with Muslim Brotherhood affiliated Justice and Construction Party.
This was stated in a detailed report on its website, as part of its recap of coordinated inauthentic behavior for 2021.
The company said it had removed 41 Facebook accounts, 133 pages, three groups, and 14 Instagram accounts, and found them to "violate the company's policy against coordinated inauthentic behavior," noting that this network originated primarily in Turkey and primarily targeted Libya.
This operation is among 52 networks that the company removed during 2021, when it was found to have engaged in a coordinated effort to manipulate or corrupt public debate for a strategic goal, while relying centrally on fake accounts to mislead people.
The company said the inauthentic networks it spotted throughout the year were set up in 34 countries, including Latin America, the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Regarding the network of accounts targeting Libya, the company reported that "the people behind this activity used fake accounts — some of which were detected and disabled by our automated systems — to post and manage Groups and Pages, including those that purported to belong to public figures and organizations in Libya, including an airport, government entities, a former prime minister, politicians, journalists and activists. Some of this network’s Pages were disabled for impersonation and other violations."
Adding: "The individuals behind this activity posted in Arabic about news and current events in the region, including the delayed elections and criticism of the rise of women in politics, society and the media. In fact, this network created Pages, purporting to be run by female public figures to make inflammatory statements on their behalf. They then would use their other Pages to point to these fictitious comments to criticize them, likely to encourage harassment."
Meta Platforms said it found this network as part of an internal investigation into the suspected coordinated inauthentic behavior in Libya connected to prior reports of impersonation. Although the people behind it attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, the company said "we found links to the Muslim Brotherhood’s affiliated Libyan Justice and Construction Party."
About 1.7 million accounts followed one or more of these pages and $59,000 was spent on ads on Facebook and Instagram, primarily paid in US dollars and Swiss francs.