Taking Down Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior in Indonesia

By Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy

Updated on April 11, 2019 at 9PM PT:

Today we removed 234 accounts, Pages and Groups from Facebook and Instagram for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior as part of a domestic network in Indonesia, some of which was connected to the Saracen-linked activity we removed earlier this year. The people behind this network misled others about who they were and what they were doing. They used fake accounts and frequently posted about local and political news including topics like upcoming elections, alleged election fraud, candidate views, and alleged misconduct of political figures. As always, we took action based on the behavior of these actors, not the content they posted.

Here’s more on what we took down today:

  • Presence on Facebook and Instagram: 78 Facebook user accounts, 34 Pages, 108 Groups and 14 Instagram accounts.
  • Followers: About 24,000 accounts followed one or more of these Pages, about 1.3 million accounts joined at least one of these Groups, and around 5,600 accounts followed one or more of these Instagram accounts.
  • Advertising: Around $4 USD in spending for ads on Facebook paid for in Indonesian rupiah. The first ad ran in October 2017, and the most recent ad ran in March 2019.

We identified these accounts, Pages and Groups through our ongoing internal investigations ahead of the upcoming elections in Indonesia. Our analysis benefited from information shared by our partners who investigate this kind of activity. We have shared information about our investigation with relevant law enforcement and policymakers.

While we are making progress rooting out this abuse, as we’ve said before, it’s an ongoing challenge because the people responsible are determined. We constantly have to improve to stay ahead. That means building better technology, hiring more people and working more closely with law enforcement, security experts and other companies.

Originally published on January 21, 2019:

Today we removed 207 Facebook Pages, 800 Facebook accounts, 546 Facebook Groups, and 208 Instagram accounts, for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior on Facebook in Indonesia, misleading others about who they were and what they were doing. All of these Pages, accounts and groups were linked to the Saracen Group – an online syndicate in Indonesia.

The Saracen Group’s coordinated abuse of the platform using inauthentic accounts is a violation of our policies and we have therefore banned the entire organization from the platform.
Here’s a breakdown of what we’ve found:

  • Presence on Facebook and Instagram: 207 Pages, 800 accounts, and 546 groups on Facebook, as well as 208 Instagram accounts
  • Followers: About 170,000 people followed at least one of these Facebook Pages, and more than 65,000 followed at least one of these Instagram accounts
  • Examples of Pages and Groups removed as part of this network:
    • Permadi Arya (Page)
    • Kata Warga (Page)
    • Darknet ID (Page)
    • berita hari ini (Group)
    • ac milan indo (Group)

We’re taking down these Pages, groups and accounts based on their behavior, not the content they were posting. In this case, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves, and that was the basis for our action.

We are constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because we don’t want our services to be used to manipulate people. Today’s announcement is just one of the many steps we have taken to prevent bad actors from abusing our platform. We will continue to invest heavily in safety and security in order to ensure that people can continue to trust the connections they make on Facebook.

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