Facebook Removes Information-Influencing Accounts Run by Military in Thailand

Fb has taken down 185 accounts and teams engaged in an information-influencing operation in Thailand run by the army, the corporate stated on Wednesday, the primary time it has eliminated Thai accounts with ties to the federal government.

The Thailand-based community eliminated within the newest sweep of “coordinated inauthentic behaviour” on the platform included 77 accounts, 72 pages, and 18 teams on Fb and 18 accounts on Instagram, Fb stated.

The corporate stated the accounts had been linked to the Thai army and focused audiences within the southern provinces of Thailand, the place battle has flared on and off for many years as rebel teams proceed a guerrilla conflict to demand independence.

Thailand’s military spokesman declined to remark when contacted by Reuters, citing a matter of coverage to not make feedback exterior of official information conferences.

Some 7,000 folks have been killed in the course of the previous 15 years on account of the insurgency within the Malay-speaking, largely Muslim southern area of predominantly Buddhist Thailand.

“That is the primary time that we have attributed certainly one of our takedowns to hyperlinks to the Thai army,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Fb’s head of Cybersecurity Coverage, informed Reuters in a briefing.

“We discovered clear hyperlinks between this operation and the Thai army’s Inner Safety Operations Command. We are able to see that every one of those accounts and teams are tied collectively as a part of this operation.”

The community, primarily lively in 2020, used each pretend accounts and genuine ones to handle teams and pages, together with overt army pages and those who didn’t disclose their affiliations with the army, Gleicher stated.

Posed as people

A number of the pretend accounts posed as people from Thailand’s southern provinces, Gleicher stated, including that the community had spent about $350 (roughly Rs. 25,500) on Fb and Instagram commercials.

Some 700,000 accounts adopted a number of of the pages and about 100,000 accounts joined no less than one of many teams, he added.

Gleicher stated Fb took motion on the community based mostly on misleading behaviour and never the content material posted, which included assist for the army and the monarchy, and allegations of violence and criticism of rebel teams in southern Thailand.

The transfer was Fb’s second takedown of information-influencing operations in Thailand, after one in 2019 involving 12 accounts and 10 pages that used “fictitious personas”.

In October, Twitter additionally took down 926 accounts it stated had been linked to the Thai military that promoted pro-army and pro-government content material. The military denied it was behind the accounts.

Twitter in November additionally suspended a Thai pro-royalist account linked to the palace {that a} Reuters evaluation discovered was related to 1000’s of others that unfold content material in favour of Thailand’s monarchy.

Fb on Wednesday stated it has taken down 4 different networks from Iran, Russia, and Morocco engaged in such coordinated inauthentic behaviour.

The corporate stated it has eliminated greater than 100 networks engaged in inauthentic behaviour globally lately.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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