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Facebook removes 687 pages and accounts linked to Congress IT Cell ahead of elections

Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, Facebook removed 687 pages linked to the Congress party after its investigation found out that individuals used fake accounts and joined various groups to disseminate their content and increase engagement.

Facebook said that the accounts and the groups displayed “coordinated unauthentic behavior” on the social media platform.

Facebook said that it has also removed another 277 pages and 94 accounts in India that violated its policies against spam and misinterpretation of data and political information.

These pages spent around USD 70,000 for ads on Facebook, paid for, in Indian currency. The latest ad that was seen was in February 2019.

The announcement marks a rare action from Facebook against a prominent political party in a country where it has more than 300 million users that accounts to the highest number in the world.

Head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook, Nathaniel Gleicher, said that it was removing the accounts as part of a network which originated in Pakistan and was linked to employees of the Inter-Service Public Relations department of the Pakistani military.

Gleicher added that the accounts were being removed not on the basis of their content, but on the basis of their behavior.

Gleicher added that people behind this social media accounts were hiding their identities. The reviews resulted in its connection with individuals associated with the Indian National Congress (INC) IT Cell. With the elections at the door, these posts will influence the people and manipulate them from the truth.

Facebook said that according to its investigation, the posts of these accounts included local news and criticism of the political opponents such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). 

The two samples submitted by Facebook for the decision were of the posts that criticized Modi’s initiatives and called for supporting the Congress party and its president Rahul Gandhi. 

Recently Facebook has received aggressive pressure from authorities around the world including Indian government to restrict the sharing of any biased or abused political pieces of information for benefits of a particular group of people, especially when the country will be having its elections.

Facebook has been working on its reformation and a better working social media platform by increasing its transparency.

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