09:36 GMT +321 January 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Facebook said in a statement on Friday that it  has removed a network of social media accounts from the country of Georgia for impersonating media outlets and political figures.

    “Today, we removed 39 Facebook accounts, 344 Pages, 13 Groups and 22 Instagram accounts as part of a domestic-focused network that originated in the country of Georgia,” the statement said.

    Facebook explained that the individuals behind the network used fake accounts to impersonate “political parties, public figures, activist groups and media entities” to target local audiences.

    In an unconnected action, Facebook also removed another network consisting of 610 accounts, 89 Facebook Pages, 156 Groups and 72 Instagram accounts that originated in Vietnam and the United States.

    Earlier in the day, Twitter removed almost 6,000 accounts originating in Saudi Arabia for engaging in "state-backed" platform manipulation, according to the company's statement.

    The company accused the network of various forms of platform manipulation, targeting discussions related to Saudi Arabia and advancing the kingdom's geopolitical interests on the world stage. 

    Facebook said the company is focused at present on Vietnam as well as on Spanish- and Chinese-speaking audiences globally.

    In October, Facebook banned multiple accounts for "coordinated inauthentic behavior", saying that the account networks originated in Iran and Russia and could potentially be involved in plans to influence the upcoming US elections.

    Following the decision, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Facebook’s claims are "fake news".


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