Facebook released its coordinated inauthentic behavior report for August and it bodes ill for Pakistan with over 700 accounts, pages and groups taken down from both Facebook and Instagram. Detailing in the monthly report, Facebook revealed two other networks: one focused on the US, UK, Algeria and Egypt but rooted in Russia and the other rooted in the US targeting Latin American countries of Venezuela, Mexico and Bolivia. The largest Pakistani network included some 453 Facebook accounts, 103 pages, 78 groups and 107 Instagram accounts, the report said. The report further added, “The vast majority of the accounts, pages and groups engaged in coordinated reporting of content and people that were critical of Pakistan’s government or supportive of India, and some engaged in spam.”
Facebook’s released CIB report for August 2020
Further detailing in a report released by Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO), “The network encouraged users to mass-report accounts that were critical of Islam and the Pakistani government, and in some cases accounts that were part of the Ahmadi religious community. The network also had messaging praising the Pakistani military, along with some Indian military fan pages and groups of unclear purpose.”
The SIO said the current network’s activity, while troubling, was not as “sophisticated nor as high quality” as the 2019 take-down. The take-down in April 2019 had some 108 accounts linked to employees of Pakistan military’s public relations arm taken down. Facebook explains “coordinated inauthentic behavior” as “coordinated efforts to manipulate public debate for a strategic goal where fake accounts are central to the operation”. The report shows a clear trend of an increasing volume of dubious or troll accounts, pages and groups concerned with Pakistan.