Twitter, Facebook remove hundreds of fake pro-Trump accounts and pages

Twitter and Facebook are both making the effort to stop the spread of deceptive accounts and pages. Twitter and Facebook are both making the effort to stop the spread of deceptive accounts and pages.

Image: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A network of false accounts and pages spreading pro-Donald Trump rhetoric to more than 55 million people were removed by Facebook and Twitter on Friday, The Verge reported, making the internet just slightly more genuine than it was on Thursday.

Facebook detailed its actions in a blog post, noting that it removed 610 Facebook accounts, 89  pages, and 156 groups, as well as 72 Instagram accounts, most of them originating in Vietnam, that were automating content, spamming the site, and spreading misinformation. The examples that Facebook shared in the blog post included pro-Trump messages and posts that had negative and false information about Democrats in the U.S.

A Twitter spokesperson confirmed to Mashable that the company removed 700 accounts from its platform for violating Twitter’s rules around platform manipulation, specifically fake accounts and spam.

“Investigations are still ongoing, but our initial findings have not identified links between these accounts and state-backed actors,” the Twitter spokesperson added.

That being said, the accounts that were banned originated in Vietnam, just like the majority of those banned by Facebook.

Facebook’s own report on its crackdown of accounts points the finger at a U.S.-based organization called The BL, which the website Snopes investigated in October and found to be fraudulent. Both Facebook and Snopes linked The BL to Epoch Media Group and individuals in Vietnam who were working for them.

An ABC News investigation in August found Epoch Media Group to be spreading misinformation and lies in support of Trump to support its own goals: taking down the Chinese government. According to the report, Epoch Media Group is run by an anti-communist Chinese spiritual community.

Epoch Media Group denies its ties to The BL, according to a statement from the company provided to The Verge.

While Twitter did not give concrete numbers in terms of how many people followed the accounts that it banned, a spokesperson for the company said 99 percent of the accounts banned had fewer than 1,000 followers. Meanwhile, Facebook stated in its blog that 55 million people followed at least one of the pages it removed and 381,500 people joined at least one of the groups. On Instagram, 92,000 people followed at least one of the banned accounts.

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