Today Facebook announced the takedown of three separate networks that targeted communities across Africa. Facebook shared the assets with the Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO) and Graphika before they were suspended. SIO collaborated with colleagues at Graphika on two reports analyzing these networks, both of which we published today.
The first network consisted of 126 Pages, 16 Groups, 211 profiles, and 17 Instagram accounts affiliated with individuals with links to the past activity of the Internet Research Agency (IRA), an entity linked to Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin. According to Facebook, the network involved operators in Russia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, and Syria and targeted individuals in Libya, Sudan, and Syria. The operation also had a Twitter presence of approximately 30 accounts actively participating in the information operation. These accounts had several thousand followers — at least one had almost 12,000 followers — but the Twitter presence was much smaller than that on Facebook.