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By Vinershea | Apr 01, 2019 07:36 PM

Days before voting begins for the 2019 general election, Facebook Inc said that it was removing 687 pages and accounts linked to Congress party, because of “coordinated inauthentic behaviour” on the social media platform.

Facebook removes pages linked to Congress party ahead of polls

According to Reuters, Facebook said it has also banned some accounts linked to an Indian company "associated with" a mobile app promoted by the BJP.  

On giving a clarification over their removal, Facebook said its investigation found that individuals used fake accounts and joined various groups to disseminate their content and increase engagement. Their posts included local news and criticism of political opponents such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

According to ANI, in a statement released by Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook, he said, "While the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our review found that it was connected to individuals associated with an INC (Indian National Congress) IT Cell". Gleicher further added that Facebook was removing accounts based on their behaviour, not the content they posted.

Facebook also said that it was removing 103 pages, groups and accounts, also for inauthentic behaviour, as part of a network which originated in Pakistan and was linked to employees of the Inter-Service Public Relations department of the Pakistani military. Facebook has been facing increasing pressure from authorities around the world, including the Indian government, to ensure its platform is not abused for political gains or to spread misinformation, especially ahead of elections.

A week back, Facebook removed a social media network in the Philippines and took the unusual step of linking it to a businessman who said he had managed the president’s online election campaign in 2016. It has taken similar actions recently against accounts in Russia and Iran.

Separately, Facebook said it had also removed another 227 pages and 94 accounts in India for violating its policies against spam and misrepresentation.