Facebook announced today that it has removed pages, events, and accounts involved in â€œcoordinated inauthentic behaviorâ€� on its social-media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram. The posts and accounts in question appeared to have been created to sow discord in advance of a second â€œUnite the Rightâ€� rally in Washington D.C., meant to memorialize last yearâ€™s deadly white supremacist protest in Charlottesville. The material Facebook found and removed included false counter-protest events, job ads for protest coordinators, and content referencing diversity and the #AbolishICE movement, among others.
This behavior is inauthentic and the actors bad, in Facebookâ€™s analysis, not because the content is objectionable on its face, but because it does not represent earnest speech. Instead, the posts appear to have been created to give those who might encounter their messages and oppose them a sense of injustice or distress, in order to precipitate discord. This type of propaganda has been common on Facebook and Instagram in the past, including during the run-up to the 2016 U.S. election.
The company didnâ€™t explicitly connect these posts to efforts to interfere with the U.S. midterm elections this year, nor could it confirm the identities of the parties responsible.