Facebook has removed 712 accounts and 390 pages in India and Pakistan because of "inauthentic behaviour" and spamming, it said yesterday, much of it linked to India's main opposition Congress party days before elections and Pakistan's military.
Facebook has faced increasing pressure from authorities around the world to ensure its platform is not abused for political gains or to spread misinformation, especially ahead of elections.
Among the most significant removals, Facebook said it took down 549 accounts and 138 pages linked to India's Congress for "coordinated inauthentic behaviour". Facebook said it also banned some accounts linked to an Indian company "associated with" a mobile app promoted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
In Pakistan, Facebook removed 57 accounts, 24 pages, seven groups and 15 Instagram accounts, also for inauthentic behaviour, as part of a network which originated in Pakistan and was linked to employees of a unit of the Pakistani military.
"We didn't find any links between the campaigns we've removed today, but they used similar tactics by creating networks of accounts to mislead others," Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity policy at Facebook, said in a statement.