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Report: US Military Likely Behind Dozens of Fake Facebook, Instagram Accounts

© AFP 2022 / JOHN MOOREFORT DRUM, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 08: U.S. Army soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division arrive from a 9-month deployment in Afghanistan on December 08, 2020 in Fort Drum, New York.
FORT DRUM, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 08: U.S. Army soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division arrive from a 9-month deployment in Afghanistan on December 08, 2020 in Fort Drum, New York. - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.11.2022
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - A network of Facebook* and Instagram* accounts were likely run by people associated with the US military and focused on audiences in a number of countries, including Russia, Afghanistan, Iran, and Syria among others, media giant Meta* said in a new report.
"We removed 39 Facebook accounts, 16 Pages, two Groups, and 26 accounts on Instagram for violating our policy against coordinated inauthentic behavior," the Tuesday report read. "[O]ur investigation found links to individuals associated with the US military."
This network originated in the United States and focused on a number of countries including Afghanistan, Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Somalia, Syria, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Yemen, the report added.
The operation of the fake accounts ran across multiple internet services, including Twitter, YouTube, and Telegram, as well as Russia-based VKontakte and Odnoklassniki, according to the report.
Pentagon spokesperson Cesar Santiago remarked Wednesday that the Defense Department was aware of the findings in the social media giant's quarterly adversarial threat report, but declined to give a comment.
"We we look into and assess any information" released in the report, Santiago underscored.
This March 27, 2008, file photo, shows the Pentagon in Washington. The Pentagon said Tuesday, July 6, 2021, that it is canceling a cloud-computing contract with Microsoft that could eventually have been worth $10 billion and will instead pursue a deal with both Microsoft and Amazon. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File) - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.09.2022
Report: Pentagon Orders Review of US Clandestine Ops After Social Media Takedowns of Fake Accounts
The company's report comes after a September Washington Post report detailed that the Pentagon had opened a review into how its clandestine psychological operations were being conducted. The review came after complaints were raised about the US military's influence via social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
In September, the media giant announced it took down 1,600 fake accounts for allegedly spreading Russian propaganda about the situation in Ukraine. Also in September, the company took down 81 Facebook accounts, eight Pages, one Group, and two accounts on Instagram that were allegedly related to China.
Russia designated Meta as an extremist organization on March 21 after the social media giant selectively lifted its rules to allow Ukrainians to call for violence and use hate speech against Russian "invaders," including calls for the death of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
*Facebook and Instagram (Meta) are banned in Russia over extremist activities.
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