WATCH: Congress' First Statement After Facebook Bans 687 Accounts Linked To Its IT Cell

Indian General Elections

Facebook had on Monday acted against ''coordinated inauthentic behaviour' on its website by banning 687 pages or groups related to the IT cell of Congress

Written By Narayan R | Mumbai | Updated On:

On the day when Facebook acted against ''coordinated inauthentic behaviour' on its website by banning 687 pages or groups related to the IT cell of Congress, the party has responded saying it will look into this matter before coming to a conclusion.

While addressing a press conference, former MoS I&B minister and senior Congress leader was asked about the recent crackdown by the social media giant against accounts which violate the policies. 

"We don’t react of the back to news reports which may just be coming in. We would need to verify the veracity of this, whether there are any Facebook pages which are linked to us, which are being exercised in any manner. We will have to check and get back," he said in response to the question.

Facebook had released a statement in regards to the banning of such accounts, pages and groups on its own platform. It suggested that the posts from these very accounts have already been suspended.

"We removed 687 Facebook Pages and accounts — the majority of which had already been detected and suspended by our automated systems — that engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior in India and were linked to individuals associated with an IT Cell of the Indian National Congress (INC)," wrote Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook in an elaborate post on the social media platform.

Adding that these posts, groups, and pages are created to mislead the social media users of their activities, he further said, "We’re taking down these Pages and accounts based on their behavior, not the content they posted."

READ: BIG Embarrassment: 687 Congress-linked Pages, Pakistan-origin Network Removed By Facebook In 'coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour' Crackdown

He also said that people coordinated with one another to carry forward the activity and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves, which Facebook took into account and used as a basis of their takedown. 

"The Page admins and account owners typically posted about local news and political issues, including topics like the upcoming elections, candidate views, the INC and criticism of political opponents including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). While the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our review found that it was connected to individuals associated with an INC IT Cell," the post further said. 

 As per Facebook details, here are the numbers:

  • Presence on Facebook: 138 Pages and 549 Facebook accounts.
  • Followers: About 206,000 accounts followed one or more of these Pages.
  • Advertising: Around $39,000 USD in spending for ads on Facebook, paid for in Indian rupees. The first ad ran in August 2014 and the most recent ad ran in March 2019.
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