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Facebook takes down network linked to Philippines businessman for 'inauthentic behavior'

It's the second such hit on coordinated inauthentic behavior this week.

Facebook : Illustration

Facebook made its second hit on coordinated inauthentic behavior this week.

Chesnot / Getty Images

Facebook has removed 200 pages, groups and accounts designed to mislead people in the Philippines.

The coordinated inauthentic behavior -- the social network's term for misinformation campaigns designed to widen political divides -- was spread across Facebook and Instagram, with millions of followers, according to a Thursday blog post.

"Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our investigation found that this activity was linked to a network organized by Nic Gabunada," Nathaniel Gleicher, the social network's head of cybersecurity, wrote.

The posts and groups in question focused on politics, highlighting alleged misconduct of opposition parties and "controversial events that were purported to occur during previous administrations."

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Facebook generally doesn't link such activities to specific individuals. Gabunada is the former chief executive of Omnicom Media Group Philippines, Reuters noted, and reportedly volunteered to lead Rodrigo Duterte's social media team during his successful 2016 presidential campaign.

At least one of the pages Facebook just took down was called "Duterte Warriors."

"If they will have to take down my account it's their prerogative, on the other hand they have to consider I'm not doing it for the sake of whatever it is that they're accusing me of," Gabunada told Filipino outlet ABS-CBN News.

It's the second such announcement from Facebook this week. On Tuesday, Gleicher announced that the social network had yanked thousands of accounts from Russia, Iran, Macedonia and Kosovo. 

First published at 3:48 a.m. PT.
Updated at 4:30 a.m. PT: Adds more detail.