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Facebook removes fake accounts tied to Russia for foreign meddling

The accounts targeted eight African countries.

Facebook pulls down more Russian-tied accounts. 
Angela Lang/CNET

Facebook has removed three networks of accounts that were targeting eight African countries, the social network said Wednesday. Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, said in a blog post that Russian financier Russian financier Yevgeny Prigozhin is connected to the networks. 

The African countries include Cameroon, Central African Republic, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya, Madagascar and Sudan. Posts on the accounts were about "global and local political news including topics like Russian policies in Africa, elections in Madagascar and Mozambique, election monitoring by a local non-governmental organization and criticism of French and US policies," according to Gleicher.

The company said it found more than 100 fake accounts and pages, as well as 11 groups and 12 Instagram accounts.

In February, Prigozhin was indicted by an federal grand jury for interfering in the 2016 US election. The New York Times reported he controlled the entity that financed the Internet Research Agency, a troll factory. According to the Times, he denied being involved. 

Representatives for Prigozhin couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

In May, Facebook removed more than 100 fake accounts, pages and groups from Russia that posted content about politics in Ukraine and other countries in Europe. The world's largest social network has been under pressure to combat misinformation after the tech giant discovered that Russian trolls used its platform to sow discord during the 2016 US presidential election. Since then, Facebook has been pulling down fake accounts that are not only tied to Russia, but also other countries such as Iranthe UK and even the US. 

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