May 2021 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report

We’re constantly working to find and stop coordinated campaigns that seek to manipulate public debate across our apps.

The Purpose of This Report

Over the past three and a half years, we’ve shared our findings about coordinated inauthentic behavior we detect and remove from our platforms. As part of our regular CIB reports, we’re sharing information about all the networks we take down over the course of a month to make it easier for people to see the progress we’re making in one place.

Summary of May 2021 Findings

Our teams continue to focus on finding and removing deceptive campaigns around the world — whether they are foreign or domestic. In May, we removed two networks from three countries — Russia, Sudan and Pakistan. We have shared information about our findings with industry partners, researchers, law enforcement and policymakers.

We know that influence operations will keep evolving in response to our enforcement, and new deceptive behaviors will emerge. We will continue to refine our enforcement and share our findings publicly. We are making progress rooting out this abuse, but as we’ve said before — it’s an ongoing effort and we’re committed to continually improving to stay ahead. That means building better technology, hiring more people and working closely with law enforcement, security experts and other companies.

Here are the numbers related to the new CIB networks we removed in May:

  • Total number of Facebook accounts removed: 123
  • Total number of Instagram accounts removed: 77
  • Total number of Pages removed: 55
  • Total number of Groups removed: 12

Networks removed in May 2021:

  1. Russia, Sudan: We removed 83 Facebook accounts, 30 Pages, six Groups and 49 Instagram accounts operated by local nationals in Sudan on behalf of individuals in Russia. This network targeted primarily Sudan. We found this activity after reviewing information about its portion shared by an independent open source researcher. Our investigation uncovered some connection to the network we removed in October 2019 and we linked this latest activity to individuals associated with past activity by the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA).
  2. Pakistan: We removed 40 Facebook accounts, 25 Pages, six Groups and 28 Instagram accounts that originated in Pakistan and targeted primarily domestic audiences in Pakistan, in addition to also focusing on English, Arabic and Pashto-speaking audiences globally. We found this activity as part of our internal investigation into suspected coordinated inauthentic behavior with some links to the network we removed in April 2019. We linked it to individuals associated with AlphaPro, a Pakistan-based PR firm.

Learn More About What is Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior

We view CIB as coordinated efforts to manipulate public debate for a strategic goal where fake accounts are central to the operation. There are two tiers of these activities that we work to stop: 1) coordinated inauthentic behavior in the context of domestic, non-government campaigns and 2) coordinated inauthentic behavior on behalf of a foreign or government actor.

Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior (CIB)
When we find domestic, non-government campaigns that include groups of accounts and Pages seeking to mislead people about who they are and what they are doing while relying on fake accounts, we remove both inauthentic and authentic accounts, Pages and Groups directly involved in this activity.

Foreign or Government Interference (FGI)
If we find any instances of CIB conducted on behalf of a government entity or by a foreign actor, we apply the broadest enforcement measures including the removal of every on-platform property connected to the operation itself and the people and organizations behind it.

Continuous Enforcement
We monitor for efforts to re-establish a presence on Facebook by networks we previously removed. Using both automated and manual detection, we continuously remove accounts and Pages connected to networks we took down in the past.

See the full report for more information.