On Tuesday, Facebook announced the ban on 84 Facebook accounts, 6 pages, 9 groups and 14 Instagram accounts, citing policy against “coordinated inauthentic behavior.” Their activity originated in France and targeted mainly the Central African Republic and Mali, but also Niger, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Cote d’Ivoire and Chad – all former French colonies in Africa.
About 5,000 or so accounts followed the banned pages, along with 1,600 accounts in the banned groups and about 200 followers on Instagram, according to Facebook’s head of security policy Nathaniel Gleicher and Global Threat Disruption Lead David Agranovich.
It was reportedly the first time a Western ‘troll’ network has been fingered by the Menlo Park behemoth, which until now focused primarily on politically-driven hunts for ‘Russian’ meddling. The accounts posted primarily in French and Arabic, supported French policies and the military, and criticized alleged Russian “interference” in the Central African Republic (CAR), as well as engaging in flame wars with “Russian” operators.
Examples provided by Facebook were posts denouncing “Russian imperialists [as] a gangrene on Mali!” and warning about “tsarist lobotomy,” or posting crude cartoons of a bear in a fur hat grabbing a bag of African diamonds and calling “Russian mercenaries” the “real thieves and destabilizers.”