Facebook Nixes Over 300 Fake News Pages Linked to Russia’s Sputnik News Agency

Facebook has removed more than 300 pages that were part of a disinformation campaign run by employees of Russia’s Sputnik news agency. In a blog post early Thursday, Facebook said the 364 pages were removed for “engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior” as part of a network that started in Russia and operated in the Baltics, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Central and Eastern European countries. Facebook says the pages presented themselves as independent news pages that posted articles on topics such as politics, weather, and economics. But the pages have been linked to employees of Sputnik, a state-run news agency based in Moscow, and frequently posted on anti-NATO sentiment, protest movements, and anti-corruption. Almost 800,000 people followed the pages, and they advertised 190 events over four years. Facebook also removed 107 Facebook pages, groups, and accounts, as well as 41 Instagram accounts, for engaging in “coordinated inauthentic behavior as part of a network that originated in Russia and operated in Ukraine.”