Meta Removed 162 Facebook, Instagram Accounts Linked to Hamas
Meta, the parent company of Facebook, removed 141 Facebook pages and 21 Instagram accounts linked to Hamas in Gaza in November. The accounts “primarily targeted people in Palestine, and to a much lesser extent in Egypt and Israel,” Nathaniel Gleicher, head of Security Policy, wrote on the Meta website on Wednesday. “We found this activity as part of our internal investigation into suspected coordinated inauthentic behavior in the region and linked it to Hamas,” the statement said. The pages and accounts were removed for “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” or CIB, as were other operations from China, Poland and Belarus. In addition, a network in Italy and France was removed for “brigading,” and a network was removed in Vietnam for “mass reporting. CIB, according to Meta, is “coordinated efforts to manipulate public debate for a strategic goal where fake accounts are central to the operation.”
The 162 pages and accounts “posted news stories, cartoons and memes primarily in Arabic about current events in the region, including the postponed Palestinian election, criticism of Israeli defense policy, Fatah and Mahmoud Abbas, and supportive commentary about Hamas,” according to Meta’s November 2021 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report. At least one of the Facebook pages had hundreds of thousands of followers. In addition, the pages and accounts spent around $21,000 for ads on Facebook and Instagram paid for primarily in US dollars.