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Russia, growing domestic operations biggest misinformation threats on Facebook

Russia, growing domestic operations biggest misinformation threats on Facebook
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before Congress on October 23, 2019. On Wednesday, the company said Russian actors were most to blame for misinformation campaigns on its platform. File Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

May 26 (UPI) -- Russia leads the world in pushing misinformation on Facebook, a threat report issued by the social media company Wednesday indicates.

While Facebook has announced when such operations have been identified and taken town over the past four years, the company said it wanted to conduct a broader analysis of "what's changed, how threat actors have evolved, what have defenders done that's worked and hasn't."

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Facebook said that of the 150 coordinated networks its removed for inauthentic behavior, Russia operated the most -- 27. Iran followed closely behind with 23, while nine came from within the United States.

The United States was the most popular target with 28 operations and Ukraine was the second-most popular target with 11 operations.

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The report said U.S. domestic actors were increasingly aiming operations at the United States during the 2020 presidential election. In the months ahead of the election, Facebook said it removed as many domestic accounts for misinformation as it did accounts from foreign actors.

"Most notably, one of the [coordinated inauthentic behavior] networks we found was operated by Rally Forge, a U.S.-based marketing firm, working on behalf of its clients including the Political Action Committee Turning Point USA," the analysis read.

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"This campaign leveraged authentic communities and recruited a staff of teenagers to run fake and duplicate accounts posing as unaffiliated voters to comment on news Pages and Pages of political actors."

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Facebook said such efforts work to undermine Americans' trust in civic institutions and corrupt public debate on issues such as the #MeToo movement and Black Lives Matter.

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