Facebook has removed a social media network in the Philippines for “coordinated inauthentic behavior”, and took the unusual step of linking it to a businessman who said he had managed the president’s online election campaign in 2016.
Facebook said its investigation found that the online activity was linked to a network organized by a former chief executive of Omnicom Media Group Philippines, who it identified as Nic Gabunada, and said it had removed 200 pages of groups and accounts on Facebook and Instagram.
“The individuals behind this activity used a combination of authentic and fake accounts to disseminate content across a variety of pages and groups”, Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of Cybersecurity Policy, said in a statement, dated on Thursday.
“They frequently posted about local and political news, including topics like the upcoming elections, candidate updates and views, alleged misconduct of political opponents, and controversial events that were purported to occur during previous administrations,” he said.
Facebook said it had taken down the pages and accounts “based on their behavior, not the content they posted”.
Gabunada told ABS-CBN News that it was “unfortunate” that Facebook linked him to the questionable pages and accounts.