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Facebook Publishes New Update on Account Removals Due to Organized Manipulation Efforts



Facebook has this week published its Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior report for May, which outlines all of the accounts, pages and groups that the platform has removed over the course of the month due to identified efforts to mislead and misinform Facebook uses for varying purpose.

As explained by Facebook:

We’re constantly working to find and stop coordinated campaigns that seek to manipulate public debate across our apps.[…] We view influence operations as coordinated efforts to manipulate public debate for a strategic goal where fake accounts are central to the operation.” 

In May, Facebook removed 253 Facebook accounts, 240 Instagram profiles, 101 Facebook groups and 770 Facebook Pages as a result of its detection and investigation efforts.

The groups removed in May included networks originating from Tunisia and Iraq, with the Tunisian-based group working to influence users in Sub-Saharan Africa, while the Iraq-based network was focused on influencing domestic politics, and appears to have been funded by the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Facebook’s efforts on this front will become more important as the 2020 US Presidential Election campaign starts to gain momentum, with the platform keen to showcase how much its systems have evolved since its apps were used for mass-manipulation, by various groups, during the 2016 campaign. 

Facebook has implemented a range of detection and awareness tools since then, and those efforts, based on the monthly CIB reports – which Facebook has been providing since February – do seem to be having an impact.

Looking at the reported figures, there are no significant trends or indicators which suggest that such activity is increasing – though removals of Facebook Pages have ramped up in the last two months.

Facebook CIB removals

Yet, even so, the month-by-month numbers are too variable at this stage to establish any definitive trends. Once we have a year of data – and insights heading into the US Election – we should have a clearer view of what Facebook’s seeing, and where such efforts are being focused on its platfoms.

And that’s another question that will need to be addressed. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, messaging apps have become the weapon of choice for many such campaigns, with WhatsApp, in particular, seeing an uptick in misinformation campaigns

WhatsApp and Messenger aren’t listed in Facebook’s CIB reports specifically, but that may be another area which can provide more context as to how such groups are operating, and their evolving tactics over time.

But right now, the reports are more a point of interest, providing additional transparency into what’s happening, but not much of a window into emerging threats. As noted, it’ll be interesting to see how those trends shift in the months ahead.

You can read Facebook’s full Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior report for May here



WhatsApp Launches ‘Call Links’ to Better Facilitate Group Audio and Video Chats



WhatsApp Launches ‘Call Links’ to Better Facilitate Group Audio and Video Chats

WhatsApp has announced the launch of a new Call Links feature, which, as it sounds, will enable you to share a link to invite others to join a group chat in the app.

As you can see in these examples, you’ll now be able to create dedicated URL links for WhatsApp group video and audio chats, which will make it easier for others to join the discussion in the app.

When available (the option is being rolled out this week), you’ll be able to see the Call Link option within your ‘Calls’ tab, enabling you to create a shareable link to get people into your chats.

It could be an easy way to help enhance community connection, and facilitate engagement, while brands could also use the option to better connect with influencers and advocates, in a more direct, intimate way.

For example, you could run an exclusive chat to discuss your upcoming product launch, or seek feedback on potential updates. Meta’s says that it’s also working on secure, encrypted video calling for up to 32 people as well, so there could soon be a range of ways to use the option as a means to spotlight specific audience segments and engage with them direct.

And with more engagement switching to messaging tools, that’s definitely worth considering.

Indeed, as part of a recent product announcement, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted that:


Most people use feeds to discover content and use messaging for deeper connections.”

As such, it may be time to start considering how you can lean into this shift, and better align with how users are now connecting, in order to maximize community and engagement.

Feeds are increasingly being overtaken by entertainment, so if you want to tap into the connective benefits of the medium, that may no longer be the place to be to reach your fans.

Messaging, and messaging groups, could be an important consideration going forward, and these new tools provide more options on this front.

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