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Meta discovers, removes fake Israeli campaign network targeting Gaza, Africa

Company cites “coordinated inauthentic behavior” in targeting Angola, Nigeria and Gaza via fake entities for political campaign

Illustration. Photo: BIGSTOCK/Copyright: Mizkit
Illustration. Photo: BIGSTOCK/Copyright: Mizkit

Meta removed 259 Facebook accounts, 42 pages, nine groups and 107 Instagram accounts traced to Israel during the second quarter of 2022, for violating its policy against coordinated inauthentic behavior (CIB), the company revealed in its quarterly adversarial threat report. The report links this alleged network with an Israeli PR group named Mind Force.

According to the company, this network targeted Angola, Nigeria and Gaza via several clusters of activity such as fictitious NGOs, media organizations, independent journalists, and other fake entities that had presence across the internet, “likely as ‘backstops’ to make them appear more legitimate so they can withstand scrutiny by platforms and researchers.”

This network – which posted primarily in English, Arabic and Portuguese about news and current events in the targeted countries – was discovered by Meta as a result of an international investigation. Its messages, according to the report, included positive commentary about the government of Angola and one of the political candidates in Nigeria, and criticism of Hamas in Gaza.

“Although the people behind it attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, our investigation found links to Mind Force, a PR firm in Israel. It is now banned from our platforms,” says the report, adding that around $12,000 was spent for ads on Facebook and Instagram, paid for mostly in Euros and US dollars.

Regarding impact, the report states that about 224,000 accounts followed one or more of the network’s pages, around 9,000 accounts joined one or more of its groups, and about 208,000 accounts followed one or more of its Instagram accounts. The report does not mention whether these are all unique followers or whether one account followed several social media outlets.

**Cybertech Insider has reached out to Mind Force to inquire about its alleged involvement in the campaigns mentioned in the Meta report. Should the company choose to reply, it will be published here.

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