Facebook has taken action against a foreign troll farm posing as pro-Trump Black Americans.
On Thursday, the social media platform removed hundreds of accounts linked to troll farm in Romania that pushed content on Instagram under names like “BlackPeopleVoteForTrump” and on Facebook under “We Love Our President,” NBC News reports.
A “troll farm” is an organized operation that manipulates online discourse via misinformation aimed at affecting public opinion. Troll farms are typically outsourced and purchased by foreign governments or businesses that want to push specific political propaganda.
Facebook also removed hundreds of fake accounts, pages, groups and IG profiles linked to conservative media outlet The Epoch Times. The digital network was banned from buying ads on Facebook in August 2019 after spreading conspiracy theories.
Facebook removed 35 accounts, three pages and 88 Instagram accounts for violating its policy “against foreign interference which is coordinated inauthentic behavior on behalf of a foreign entity.”
The company said the takedowns were based on “behavior, not content.”
“About 1,600 accounts followed one or more of these Pages and around 7,200 people followed one or more of these Instagram accounts,” Facebook said.
Nathaniel Gleicher, the company’s head of security policy, said the motives behind the operation are unknown. He told NBC News on Thursday that there was no “clear evidence of financial motivation” or “clear links to known commercial actors in this space.”
Facebook said the trolls used fake accounts “to pose as Americans, amplify and comment on their own content, and manage Pages including some posing as President Trump fan Pages.”
The troll farm was detected as part of its “internal investigation into suspected coordinated inauthentic behavior ahead of the 2020 election in the US.”
Last month, Facebook removed a network of accounts tied to former Trump advisor Roger Stone, and the neo-fascist Proud Boys group. The company previously removed pages and accounts connected to the conspiracy group, QAnon.