Many of the pages and accounts used fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names to post large amounts of content across a network of groups and pages to drive traffic to their websites, the release explained. Other pages and accounts were just ad farms using Facebook to mislead people into thinking they were forums for actual political debate, the release said.
"As part of our efforts to protect people's security, we have recently removed Social Data Hub (SDH), a Russian-linked social media firm, because they were scraping people's information," the Facebook spokesperson said on Thursday. Social Data Hub CEO Artur Khachuyan in a statement said they do not scrape data outside of Russia and are waiting for Facebook to unlock their accounts.
Facebook came under fire for allowing the placement of political campaign ads allegedly linked to Russian entities during the 2016 election. Moscow has repeatedly rejected allegations of election meddling, characterizing them as attempts by US politicians and media to fuel Russophobic hysteria.