Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Social giant Facebook said Thursday it's removed more Russian-linked accounts for "inauthentic behavior" as part of an ongoing effort to purge efforts to spread misinformation.
Nathaniel Gleicher, head of Facebook cybersecurity policy, said the accounts were linked to two operations that originated in Russia. One targeted multiple countries and the other focused on Ukraine.
"We removed 364 Facebook Pages and accounts for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior as part of a network that originated in Russia and operated in the Baltics, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Central and Eastern European countries," Gleicher wrote in a blog post Thursday.
The purge included 75 accounts and 289 pages, and about 790,000 accounts followed one or more of the pages, he added.
"We didn't find any links between these operations, but they used similar tactics by creating networks of accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing. We are constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because we don't want our services to be used to manipulate people.
"We're taking down these pages and accounts based on their behavior, not the content they post. In these cases, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves, and that was the basis for our action."
Facebook included several examples of the removed accounts, and said it shared the information with U.S. law enforcement, Congress, technology companies and policymakers in the targeted countries.
The purge is Facebook's latest effort to weed out the intentional effort to misinform. In October, it removed more than 800 accounts and pages that "consistently" broke Facebook's rules against spam and "coordinated inauthentic behavior." Those accounts and pages, often under phony identities, posted what the company said was a "massive" amount of content to funnel traffic to affiliated websites.
Facebook said at the time the operators fooled some users into thinking the content they posted was more popular than it actually was.
Gleicher didn't offer specific numbers Thursday on how many accounts were removed from Facebook and Instagram this time.
"While we are making progress rooting out this abuse, as we've said before, it's an ongoing challenge because the people responsible are determined and well-funded," he wrote. "We constantly have to improve to stay ahead. That means building better technology, hiring more people and working more closely with law enforcement, security experts and other companies."
Facebook has made repeated efforts to clean up suspicious online activity after international criticism over how operators used the social media platform to plant phony news stories and sow discord worldwide.
The company said in November it would create an independent governing body to monitor content. Canadian and British lawmakers last year unsuccessfully called on founder Mark Zuckerberg to testify on data security matters.
Facebook's standing was hurt by the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the company was duped by a political firm that gained access to personal data on more than 50 million users.