Facebook says it has uncovered disinformation campaigns in over 50 countries since 2017.
This is stated in a 4-year Facebook report that looks at so-called coordinated inauthentic behavior.
The report includes 150 disinformation operations. According to the analysis, over 4 years there were 27 influence operations in Russia. Of these, 15 were associated with the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency (IRA) or other organizations associated with Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Four more Russian networks were associated with the Kremlin intelligence services, and two more with Russian media sites.
Next comes Iran with 23 unreliable networks.
Facebook says that no other social media influencer campaign detected by Facebook has reached the scale of Russian activities in 2016 in recent years. In 2017, Facebook uncovered a massive influence operation in which the Russian Internet Research Agency exposed 126 million users of the platform to political disinformation ahead of the elections.
In particular, since the beginning of 2020, Facebook has discovered and removed a network of Russian military intelligence, which focused on Ukraine and neighboring countries.
Facebook calls the 2020 US election “a watershed moment in the recent history of impact operations.”
Reportedly, “more and more players have followed the example of Russia and launched disinformation operations in their countries”. These include networks of shadowy public relations firms, which sometimes do work for both sides within a country, as well as politicians, marginalized political groups and governments.
In addition, it is noted that coordinated disinformation efforts have become more graceful and expensive in recent years.
The countries most frequently targeted by foreign disinformation operations were the United States, Ukraine, Britain, Libya, and Sudan.
Earlier this month, Facebook deleted 105 accounts, 24 pages and five Instagram profiles – the company claims they were associated with the Servant of the People political party. Accounts were deleted for violating Facebook’s Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Policy.