Facebook says it removed troll farm run by Nicaraguan government

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Woman holds smartphone with Facebook logo successful beforehand of a displayed Facebook's caller rebrand logo Meta successful this illustration representation taken October 28, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Nov 1 (Reuters) - Facebook (FB.O) said connected Monday that past period it removed a troll workplace with much than 1,000 Facebook and Instagram accounts which it was said was tally by the Nicaraguan authorities and the country's ruling party, the Sandinista National Liberation Front.

The societal media institution said the troll workplace - a coordinated effort to manipulate nationalist sermon utilizing fake accounts - was intended to amplify pro-government and anti-opposition content. It said it had been progressive connected its platforms since 2018 and was chiefly operated by unit of TELCOR, Nicaragua's telecoms watchdog, moving from the postal work office successful superior Managua.

The Supreme Court, which has been an Ortega ally, and the Nicaraguan Social Security Institute besides ran smaller clusters of fake accounts, Facebook said.

The bureau of Nicaragua's Vice President Rosario Murillo, the spokeswoman for President Daniel Ortega and his government, did not instantly respond to a Reuters petition for remark astir the report.

"This was 1 of the astir cross-government troll operations we've disrupted to date, with aggregate authorities entities participating successful this enactment astatine once," Facebook's investigators said successful their report.

Facebook said it had this twelvemonth taken down different government-linked networks from Ethiopia, Uganda, Sudan, Thailand and Azerbaijan for breaking its rules against alleged coordinated inauthentic behavior, calling this "an particularly troubling trend."

The company, which past week announced it would commencement trading arsenic Meta Platforms Inc connected Dec. 1, has been nether scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators implicit imaginable harms linked to its platform, peculiarly aft erstwhile worker and whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked interior documents.

Nicaragua volition hold its statesmanlike predetermination connected Sunday, which Washington has denounced arsenic a sham organized by an progressively authoritarian Ortega.

Facebook said the cognition ran a web of blogs, websites and societal media assets crossed TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, Blogspot and Telegram. The companies did not instantly respond to requests for comment.

It said the enactment began successful April 2018, arsenic student-led protests against the authorities broke out. It said the web created fake accounts to discredit the protesters, including done posing arsenic students and done attempting coordinated reporting of critics' accounts. From precocious 2019, Facebook said it progressively focused connected posting and amplifying pro-government content.

Facebook said it removed 937 Facebook accounts, 140 pages, 24 groups and 363 Instagram accounts arsenic portion of the Nicaraguan network.

Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford successful New York; Additional reporting by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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