Following the takedown of hundreds of pages and groups linked to Iran on Thursday, Facebook has continued its cull in Indonesia.
The social media giant has been targeting “coordinated inauthentic behavior” on the platform, announcing the same the removal of accounts, pages, and groups linked to the Saracen Group.
Described as a “fake news syndicate,” the Saracen Group has been under the spotlight for its smear campaigns against Indonesian politicians and other people.
According to The Straits Times, the syndicate reportedly charged $5,600 for a customised fake news article, which would then be disseminated to its hundreds of thousands of followers.
207 Facebook Pages, 800 Facebook accounts, 546 Facebook groups, and 208 Instagram accounts were closed down as part of the takedown.
It includes pages and groups with titles such as “ac milan indo,” “Darknet ID,” and “Kata Warga” (“Citizens said”). At least one of these pages had at least 170,000 followers, while at least one Instagram account had at least 65,000 followers.
“We’re taking down these Pages, groups and accounts based on their behavior, not the content they were posting,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s Head of Cybersecurity Policy, said in a statement online.
“In this case, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves, and that was the basis for our action.”
In January, Facebook also action against digital marketing group Twinmark Media Enterprises in the Philippines for similar reasons.
Facebook’s seemingly increased vigilance in Asia comes after it was found to not have done enough to stop offline violence and division in Myanmar, where the social network was used to spread anti-Muslim and anti-Rohingya sentiment.