Social media giant Facebook today reportedly removed 687 pages and accounts linked to Congress party for 'coordinated inauthentic behaviour'. The move came a few days before phase I of voting for Lok Sabha polls.
According to a statement by Facebook published in news agency Reuters, the company's investigation found that individuals used fake accounts and joined various groups to disseminate their content and increase engagement. Their posts included local news and criticism of political opponents such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Facebook said.
Facebook to start removing the long overdue white nationalism and separatism content from its platform
The company said that its action was not based on the content but on the behaviour of the account holders.
Snapshots of Congress IT Cell linked Facebook pages that were shut down today for spreading misinformation and “coordinated inauthentic behaviour in India” according to FB Head of Cybersecurity Nathaniel Gleicher pic.twitter.com/x90ekmO5ZN— ANI (@ANI) April 1, 2019
On being asked about the development at a press conference today, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said that the party will react after checking the varsity of the news. It is possible that either those pages or not linked to us, or the news report is not correct, Tewari told media in New Delhi.
In a tweet, Congress party said that no official pages run by INC have been taken down. Additionally, all pages run by their verified volunteers were also unaffected. In the meantime, we are awaiting a response from Facebook to provide us a list of all pages/accounts that they have taken down, they said.
This is to clarify no official pages run by INC have been taken down. Additionally, all pages run by our verified volunteers are also unaffected.— Congress (@INCIndia) April 1, 2019
In the mean time, we are awaiting a response from Facebook to provide us a list of all pages/accounts that they have taken down.
Facebook has also decided to take down 103 pages, groups and accounts, also for inauthentic behaviour, 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.
Separately, Facebook said it had also removed another 227 pages and 94 accounts in India for violating its policies against spam and misrepresentation.
Facebook has toughened up its rules governing political advertisements in India and many other countries to increase transparency during elections. Lok Sabha elections in India are set to begin on April 11 and will conclude on May 23.