The network was operated from Pakistan even though some IDs claimed they were based in India
Facebook said it removed 453 Facebook accounts, 103 Pages, 78 groups and 107 Instagram accounts being operated from Pakistan as they appeared to have a “coordinated inauthentic behavior”. The accounts were reportedly running Indian military fan pages. Some of the accounts were falsely claiming to be based in India.
Facebook does not allow coordinated spread of inauthentic information on its platform. It removes content that comes from non-governmental campaigns and offers false information, often through fake ids.
The pages removed were spreading ill information about the government of Pakistan and were posting content supportive of the Indian government, according to Facebook. The pages primarily shared information about regional events and resorted to memes and other content. The issues this content discussed were primarily about Pakistan and India’s political situation, the China-India conflict, the Indian government and military.
“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 said in a blog.
Facebook shared some information about these accounts with the Stanford Internet Observatory. Some of these accounts have insulting names. Most of these had anti-Pakistan and anti-Islam information. These accounts also had tutorials on how to create fake ids and mass report other pages’ content.
“This is the first example of coordinated mass reporting appearing in a network that Facebook has suspended,” Shelby Grossman, a researcher at the Stanford Observatory Laboratory said.
“Group leaders of the troll armies would decide on who to report and push those out to other popular groups and pages. Another unique aspect of this network is how they also developed tools to mass report content, including YouTube tutorials on how to create Facebook accounts and pages,” she added.