Facebook ‘blacklists’ Azerbaijani users
Facebook – the world’s largest social network has blocked hundreds of accounts and pages associated with the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA), commonly known as a ‘troll factory’ – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Reuters in an exclusive interview.
According to Zuckerberg the IRA created ‘hundreds of fake accounts’ aimed at interfering in the 2016 United States presidential election and spreading disinformation targeting the Russian-speaking populations of Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
Zuckerberg reported that a total of 273 Russian-language pages and accounts associated with the aforesaid company were deleted. Futhermore, on Tuesday, 3 April, Facebook started deleting the Russian ‘troll factory’ accounts.
“This Russian agency has repeatedly acted deceptively and tried to manipulate people in the USA, Europe and Russia, and we don’t want them on Facebook anywhere in the world,” reads Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook post.
In the coming weeks, Facebook is going to release an update, allowing social media users to check whether they are subscribed to accounts or pages that are secretly controlled by the IRA.
Zuckerberg claims these efforts are to protect the integrity of elections worldwide.
On 10 April, Mark Zuckerberg is expected to testify before the US Congress and state in detail the measures he is implementing to combat trolls.
According to the Facebook report, about one million accounts worldwide were connected to these pages /groups that were deleted, including 29 000 of them in Azerbaijan.
In addition, Facebook deleted and blocked some troll accounts in Azerbaijan itself.
Some blocked Facebook users in Azerbaijan have claimed that they have never had anything to do with the ‘troll factory’. However, the Facebook team hasn’t responded to their complaints and appeals in any way.