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Facebook bans fake Israel-based accounts that spent $812,000 on ads

They were removed for "coordinated inauthentic behavior."

James Martin/CNET

Facebook continued its crackdown on inauthentic activity on its social media platforms with the removal of hundreds of pages and accounts originating in Israel that targeted several African nations.

The social media platform removed 265 Facebook and Instagram accounts, pages, events and groups for "coordinated inauthentic behavior," according to a blog post on Thursday by Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity policy for the company. This behavior originated in Israel and targeted Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Angola, Niger and Tunisia along with some activity in Latin America and Southeast Asia using $812,000 of Facebook ads paid for with Brazilian, Israeli and US money from December 2012 to April 2019.

These accounts were behind various political activities and attempt to spread disinformation in the targeted countries. Facebook said some of the actions were committed by an Israeli commercial entity known as Archimedes Group, which was a repeat offender for this kind of behavior and is now banned from the social network.

Facebook has been trying to weed out misinformation campaigns that aim to deepen political divisions using its platforms. In March, the social media platform took down 2,632 Russian and Iranian accounts because of "coordinated inauthentic behavior." Then in April, Facebook removed 687 pages based in India and Pakistan for similar activity.